This article reviews reasons why tourism is an impetus to promoting economic growth from perspectives of the measurement of its economic impacts, contributions to poverty reduction, the efficiency and productivity, and impacts of several external economic factors. To achieve this, a critical review was performed by selecting 346 papers from 11 tourism-related journals, published during 2000–2014. Main findings are summarized. First, previous studies confirmed tourism's positive economic impacts in most, but not all, circumstances. Second, through channels of prices, earnings, and government revenues, tourism can contribute to reducing poverty. Third, labor, capital, technology, environment, expenditures, revenues, and several external economic factors are key determinants of tourism efficiency and productivity. Additionally, to address how the issue has been researched, we perform an overview of primary data analysis techniques used in earlier studies. Finally, some policy considerations are proposed to promote tourism development, reduce poverty, improve tourism efficiency, and strengthen tourism competitiveness.
tourism, economic growth, poverty reduction, tourism efficiency and productivity, financial and economic crises, external economic factors