The case of the high speed rail between Perpignan (France) and Barcelona (Spain)

By Sophie Masson – Laboratoire Montpelliérain d’Economie Théorique et Appliquée (LAMETA – UMR 5474, France & Romain Petiot – University of Perpignan Via Domitia, IUT, dpt GLT, Chemin Passio-Vella, BP 79905, 66962 Perpignan Cedex 9, France

The transport system plays an important role in tourism destination development. A high speed railway authorizes a reduction in transportation costs and can be a tool for tourism destination development by allowing accessibility improvement. Nevertheless, this improvement is often synonymous with reinforcement of spatial competition between tourism destinations. New economic geography (NEG) models show that agglomeration and dispersion forces determine the spatial structure of economy. These two opposing forces are influenced by transportation costs. A decrease in transport costs can reinforce the concentration of economic activities. A prospective analysis investigating the case of the forthcoming South European HSR lines between Perpignan and Barcelona shows that the resulting increased spatial competition may reinforce the phenomenon of the tourism activities agglomeration around Barcelona to the detriment of Perpignan. Tourism product differentiation is one solution for Perpignan to confront agglomeration forces.

 

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