PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (7): 1056-1068.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2019.07.010

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Urban tourism research in China and the United States based on a “space-theme” framework: Analysis of Ph.D. dissertations on urban tourism in 2008-2017

He ZHU1(), Jiaming LIU1,2, Jiangzhi LONG3, Ling YU1,2, Tao LI4,5   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. College of Tourism and Hotel Management, Northeast University of Finance and Economics, Dalian 116000, Liaoning, China
    4. School of Geographic Science, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
    5. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
  • Received:2018-09-18 Revised:2019-04-09 Online:2019-07-28 Published:2019-07-28
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 41801139 and 14BGL201.


Urban tourism development has driven the boom of urban tourism research. Based on 377 Ph.D. dissertations majored in urban tourism between 2008 and 2017 from China and the United States, this study compared and analyzed the research structure and progress of urban tourism research in the two countries. A "space-theme" urban tourism research framework was proposed, and methods of industrial structure research were utilized. We found that there is no significant difference between the number of dissertations of these two countries, but disciplinary background and origin universities of the U.S. dissertations are more diverse than Chinese; the research structure of the dissertations from these two countries’ are similar. Chinese research was more concentrated, and more evenly distributed on different scales. With regard to the six research themes, scholars from the two countries focus on varied directions, but also share similar topics. Finally, based on the comparison between the two countries, we summarized the research structure, research space, research content, and research methods as well the prospect of future research.

Key words: urban tourism, Ph.D. dissertation, comparative study, China, United States