Tourism studies have shown a growing interest in the relationship between tourism and the economy, with relevant work exploring the causal direction of effects between a country's international tourism presence and its overall economic performance (Schubert et al., 2011; Ivanov and Webster, 2013; Antonakakis et al., 2015). The product of this enquiry is a mosaic of four different interpretations (i.e. tourism-led growth, economy-driven tourism and bidirectional or no causality) that render this area of research inconclusive and still open to discussion. A detailed analysis of these hypotheses is offered by Brida and Pulina (2010) and Chatziantoniou et al. (2013).