We explore the relationship between tourism specialization and structural change in an endogenous growth model, analyzing its implications for both economic growth and tourist flows. We consider a two-sector economic growth model where the development of tourism activities generates a production externality and a structural change, which modifies the resources-use intensity, ultimately affecting tourist flows. We characterize the balanced growth path equilibrium and analyze under which conditions structural change may generate fast economic growth, providing a theoretical support for the empirical evidence on tourism countries. We also show that structural change may alternatively lead to stages of rejuvenation, stagnation, or decline consistently with what advanced by the tourism area life cycle hypothesis. By combining these different results, we also show that an eventual phase of decline generated by structural change does not necessarily have to be interpreted as a poor economic outcome since there might exist a bell-shaped relationship between residents' income and number of visitors.