Local development can assume many forms, depending on the environmental characteristics of places and the way they evolve historically. Tourist resorts are concentrated on space, forming a well-defined geography of local productive systems which show very different growth rates. The aim of this paper is to establish a geography of local tourist production systems in Italy, and to explore their sources of growth and competitiveness. Results suggest that higher levels of growth are not based on natural endowments but on localization economies, especially on the presence of all the phases of a "tourist filière", a chain of economic activities directly related to tourism production, in the local production system. © Springer-Verlag 2007.