We analyze the empirical relationship between growth, country size and tourism specialization by using a dataset covering the period 1980-2003. We find that tourism countries grow significantly faster than all the other sub-groups considered in our analysis. Tourism appears to be an independent determining factor for growth, and the reason for that is neither because they are poorer than the average, nor because they are very open to trade. Another finding of our paper is that small states are fast-growing only when they are highly specialized in tourism. In contrast with some previous conclusions in the literature, smallness per se is not good for growth.