Original Articles

Development Report on Tourism Geography in China (2005-2011)

  • Center for Tourism Planning & Research, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received date: 2011-03-01

  Revised date: 2011-06-01

  Online published: 2011-12-25


Abstract:Tourism Geography is a comprehensive sub-discipline that involves physical geography, economic geography and human geography. Most of the vibrantly participating tourism geographers in China have the academic backgrounds and training history of physical geography and economic geography. Tourism geography in China was born in the 1980s when both the discipline of geography as a whole and the tourism industry have witnessed huge developments and prosperity since then. After 30 years of development, tourism geography has nowadays become one of the fastest-growing, most vibrant and productive sub-disciplines in China’s geographical studies. On the one hand, in the pursuit of knowledge innovation and diffusion, 1) academic standards have been discussed substantially, issues related to research question have been emphasized, and the self-awareness of disciplinary development has been intensified, hence a number of achievements with Chinese characteristics have been made in the areas of community-based tourism (community participation and empowerment in tourism development, power structure in tourism community), event & event tourism (mega-events such as Olympic Games, World Expo, Asian Games and the Canton Fair; festivals such as Qingdao International Beer Festival and Wutaishan Buddhist Festival), heritage tourism (heritage management & governance, heritage tourism), urban tourism (tourism commercialization in historic towns, recreational business district, urban tourism growth mechanism and tourism-induced urbanization), tourist flow and time-space structure, and related methodological innovations; 2) with the rapid establishment of many tourism faculties and/or schools in universities, tourism geography has been given a broader platform on which greater progress can be made, for instance, there had been 852 tourism programs or departments offered in China's universities by the end of 2009, and tourism geography is one of the core courses in universities; 3) as the international communication and cooperation deepens, tourism geography in China is getting more and more internationally-oriented, for example, scholars and students in and from China have published more academic papers in leading tourism-related English journals than before, more and more students from China have completed their Ph.D in universities in the USA, UK, Canada, and Japan, and most of them are scholars and students with geographical background and training history. On the other hand, in the pursuit of knowledge application/social services, tourism geography has made great contributions to regional development, by 1) participating in regional tourism plans of provincial regions such as Hunan Province and key areas such as Suzhou, Zhangjiajie, Huangshan and Guilin; 2) preserving world heritage sites such as Danxiashan in Guangdong, Zhangjiajie in Hunan, Huangshan in Anhui, and Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan; 3) promoting the standardization and internationalization of the tourism industry, such as drafting the Standard for National Exemplary Ecotourism Area. In the future, tourism geography in China is supposed to continue not only to take advantage of integrating theories with practices to strengthen and sustain the discipline, but also to stress the importance of theoretical constructions and developments for the purpose of disciplinary survival by increasing the‘theory depth’and promoting international dialogues and cooperation between China and the world.

Cite this article

BAO Jigang, YIN Shoubing, LIANG Zengxian, CHEN Ganghua, LI Peng . Development Report on Tourism Geography in China (2005-2011)[J]. PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY, 2011 , 30(12) : 1506 -1512 . DOI: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2011.12.006