Tourism development and happiness: A residents’ perspective

Manuel A. Rivera
Robertico R. Croes, University of Central Florida
Seung Hyan Lee


This study investigates the empirical relationship between tourism development and happiness from the perspective of locals in a small island destination. The study provides insights into how residents assess their own happiness and how those assessments depart from traditional well-being indicators by examining the mediating relationships among both income and non-income factors, i.e. quality of life and comparisons of life situations. The results reveal that tourism development and happiness are positively correlated but the association between these variables is slim and not exclusive. Furthermore, the structural equation model reveals that the large impact of non-income factors, such as social comparisons, matters to happiness.