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An exploratory study of visitors’ motivations at a heritage destination: The case of the South Luogu Alley in China

Xiaolin Shi (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Jonathon Day (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Susan Gordon (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Liping Cai (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Howard Adler (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights

ISSN: 2514-9792

Article publication date: 13 May 2019

Issue publication date: 21 May 2019

1042

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine visitors’ motivations for going to the South Luogu Alley, a famous hutong with an over 700-year history in Beijing, China.

Design/methodology/approach

The study applied a self-administered questionnaire to collect data from visitors on the main street of the South Luogu Alley.

Findings

It was found that most visitors of the hutong are casual tourists pursuing relaxation, including tension release and spending time with friends and family; seeking authenticity is not visitors’ most important motivation.

Research limitations/implications

This study used only one hutong to assess visitors’ motivations in hutong tourism, so the results may not be applicable to all hutongs.

Practical implications

The research on the demographics and different motivations of the South Luogu Alley visitors can be useful to managers of tourism-related organizations.

Social implications

This study shows that tourists with different motivations for visiting a hutong have varying requirements for authenticity. The reconstruction of some historical hutongs is not always perceived as negative, and the influence of Western cultural elements can be seen as positive if they contribute to the sustainable development of the local culture.

Originality/value

The term “hutonger,” which includes casual visitors, entertainment seekers, authenticity seekers and pure escapees, based on these respective motivations, is introduced to describe the specific groups of hutong visitors and contribute to the hutong tourism literature.

Keywords

Citation

Shi, X., Day, J., Gordon, S., Cai, L. and Adler, H. (2019), "An exploratory study of visitors’ motivations at a heritage destination: The case of the South Luogu Alley in China", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Insights, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 186-202. https://doi.org/10.1108/JHTI-07-2018-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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