The purpose of this paper is to describe and evaluate red tourism in China and, in doing so, shed light on the complex relationships between tourism, heritage and identity politics.
Mixed methods – literature review, document analysis, interviews with government officials, travel agents and tourists.
Red tourism is an initiative to preserve, promote and pass down China’s communist past that is underpinned by political purposes. It has resulted in an imbalance between the government’s designation of communist heritage sites all over the country and the concentration of visitors in a small number of popular destinations. Red tourism fosters allegiance to the Communist Party of China. At the same time, it is expected to bring economic opportunities to remote locations through tourism spending and the branding opportunities that it provides. However, a different emphasis can be discerned at the national and local levels, whereby the former emphasizes political cohesion and the latter stresses local economic development.
Four sites are investigated in detail out of the hundreds that might have been explored.
Recommendations are made to: diversify the product, increase stakeholder involvement, enhance heritage conservation plans, improve interpretation.
Many implications for relationships between governments at all levels and the Chinese population. Also implications for the economic well-being of places and people adjacent to red tourism sites.
One of very few papers in either English or Chinese that addresses the red tourism policy in detail and with substantial empirical materials.
Wall, G. and Zhao, N. (2017), "China’s red tourism: communist heritage, politics and identity in a party-state", International Journal of Tourism Cities, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 305-320. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJTC-03-2017-0017Download as .RIS
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