Rural footprints of leisure choice: Exploring spatial complementarities in ‘Happy Feet’ and ‘Green Beauty’ tourism

Karima Kourtit, Jaewon Lim*, Peter Nijkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The ‘Happy Feet’–‘Green Beauty’ tourism nexus represents the functional spatial interplay between entertainment-centered tourism and nature-based visitors' choices. This paper seeks to explain rural (non-urban) tourism patterns emerging from the interaction between the two forms of tourism in the context of sustainable destination development, using Las Vegas and its hinterland as a case study. The analysis addresses important key concepts related to the urban–rural tourism nexus, namely deconcentrated concentration of tourism, health tourism, nature/eco-tourism, tourism crowding, spatial substitution/complementarity in tourism, outer-inner city tourism synergy, and intervening spatial opportunities in tourism. The study develops a novel methodological framework for identifying the drivers of rural (non-urban) tourism choices as spillover factors from tourism crowding in major attractions. Mapping out this transition in leisure behavior contributes to a comprehensive understanding of the ‘Happy Feet’–’Green Beauty’ tourism nexus for post-corona tourism development and informs future research and practical implications in tourism spillover studies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2665
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2024


  • footprints
  • galaxy model
  • Green Beauty tourism
  • Happy Feet tourism
  • outer-inner city synergy
  • polycentric dispersion


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