It is pretty clear to see that traditionally, tourism acts as a major source of income within many countries. China is one of many countries that is considered to currently have a developing tourism market. The huge amounts of investment put into this area points to the important role it plays in the growth of the economy. This is one of the main reasons why I believe it is important for people to know and read about it. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 57.6 million foreign visitors entered the country in 2011, generating over $40 billion dollars in revenue (Ping). With that being said, China is now the third most visited country in the world. Unlike many other developing economies, tourism is still considered a relatively new experience in China. For this assignment, I chose to compare the influence of economic, social and political characteristics that have developed tourism in China.
It is important to understand why tourism in China is such a big deal and why it is important to know about, whether you plan on traveling there or not. As China industrializes, tourism will become one of its primary and fastest growing economic areas. China is expected to become the world’s most visited country by 2020. Because of this, aspects of China that are meant to be kept within the culture are now not being taken seriously. For example, in the ‘State, Market, and Religions in Chinese Societies’ article, it discussed how a monk who was not qualified to perform any blessings was approached by a Han Chinese tour guide who said that she had a bunch of tourists who wanted to be blessed. Even though the monk was not qualified, he performed the blessing just for the tourists. This is when I realized how much damage tourism has brought to local Chinese cultures. Due to the massive, but chaotic increase in tourist infrastructure, integration into the market system has been accompanied by a number of negative consequences for local and ethnic communities. The development of a tourist political economy has not benefited locals to any great degree and it is clear how cultural values may be commercialized and corrupted by tourism in China.
It is clear that China’s tourism has strongly increased development within the country. There are many positive impacts of tourism that will bring forth great opportunities but just like anything there are also a number of challenges that China has had to grapple with and will continue to. I believe one of China’s biggest challenges is the contradictions between their tourists and markets. China has been in the process of transition from a planned economy to a market economy, but the international tourism piece is still not able to shake off the barriers of the old system in terms of organization, operation and management. The drawbacks of China’s present system include the lack of related laws and regulations, unreliable product quality, lack of knowledge of international market demand, and the way in which rigid business operations are conducted (Guangrui). These drawbacks could potentially influence the image building of China in the international tourism market.
When I first started this assignment, I envisioned it to be in the form of a travel brochure. I believe the reason I saw it playing out like that is because when I travel, I enjoy picking up brochures from different sites I visit to get the lowdown on what is popular around the site and the significance of things. Now that I have done further research, I believe taking the form of a research paper would better inform people who are interested in learning about tourism in China and how it has affected people who live there, as well as all of the behind the scenes opportunities and challenges that have risen because of tourism. I believe it is important for everyone to recognize all of the factors that could potentially hurt a country due to the tourism industry.
Guangrui Zhang, Ray Pine, Hanqin Qiu Zhang, (2000) “China’s international tourism
development: present and future”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 12 Issue: 5, pp.282-290, doi: 10.1108/09596110010339634
Ping, Zhou. “Tourism Development in China.” ThoughtCo. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.