International Journal of Tourism Anthropology (6 papers in press)
A cross-cultural analysis of Hutong tourism at Nanluoguxiang, Beijing, China: Comparison between Beijing, other Chinese and international visitors
by Ming Ming Su, Geoffrey Wall
Abstract: Hutongs, a representative street layout with traditional houses of ordinary Beijing residents, have increasingly used as cultural attractions and generating diverse experiences for tourists from different backgrounds. Taking a cross-cultural perspective, this study compares use patterns, motivations, perceptions and evaluations of Beijing, other domestic and international visitors at Nanluoguxiang hutong tourism site in Beijing through onsite questionnaire surveys. Research indicates that most visitors are young and well educated. Perceptions of the authenticity of the experience decreases and recognition of Nanluoguxiangs representation of Beijing character increases with cultural distance. Activities, such as visiting hutong and interacting with hutong residents, have a stronger influence on perceptions and evaluations of tourists with a greater cultural distance from the host culture. Results support the important role that cultural distance plays in shaping visitor perceptions and evaluations of heritage tourism sites. Practical implications are discussed to inform planning and management of hutong tourism in Beijing.
Keywords: Hutong tourism; visitor; cultural distance; Nanluoguxiang; China.
The fall and reincarnation of Thailands Tiger Temple
by Erik Cohen
Abstract: Illegal animal tourist establishments, such as zoos, theme parks, tourist-oriented farms, and animal shows proliferated in recent years in the emergent regions of the world, and attract large numbers of visitors. Animal rights and ethics advocates generally oppose those establishments and favor their closure, but pay scarce attention to the consequences of successful closure for the saved animals. The Tiger Temple in Thailand was such an illegal but popular establishment, offering tourists a close embodied interaction with nominally wild, but actually tame tigers. This reconstructed anthropological case study of the prolonged struggle of the Thai authorities and animal rights and welfare activists against the Temple, focuses on the successful closure of the tiger displays, the removal of the tigers into government facilities, and the attempt of the Temple to reincarnate its tiger displays in a formally separate tiger zoo. The paper concludes that the manner in which the authorities handled the process, eventuated in undesired consequences for all participants: though the Temple was granted a license for its zoo, it remained without its tigers; the removal burdened the authorities with the care for the relocated animals; and the tigers suffered a reduction in their welfare conditions. In conclusion, the article highlights the need to pay increased attention to the neglected problem of the level of welfare of wild animals after they have been released from the clutch of traffickers or from animal entertainment facilities.
Keywords: tourist-animal interaction; Tiger Temple; Thai Department of National Parks (DNP); tiger shows; tiger trafficking; animal welfare.
Special Issue on: Niche Tourism and Residents' Well-being in Island Destinations
NICHE TOURISM (BIRDWATCHING) AND ITS IMPACTS ON THE WELL-BEING OF A REMOTE ISLAND AND ITS RESIDENTS
by Richard Butler
Abstract: Birdwatching has been the predominant form of tourism on Fair Isle, the most remote of the inhabited British islands, since tourism began there in 1905.The paper discusses the impact of slowly increasing tourist numbers on the well-being of the island residents, using data collected in two surveys of the resident population fifty years apart. The information obtained allows a longitudinal examination of the impact of tourism on the well-being of island residents and resident attitudes towards, and involvement with, tourism, and reveals that attitudes have remained positive throughout the half century of study. The numbers, location, and nature of tourists and tourism are identified as key factors in the positive relationship between residents and visitors, and tourism is concluded to have been of benefit to the environmental, social-cultural and economic well-being of residents on the island.
Keywords: tourism; remote island; birdwatching; resident attitudes; resident well-being; niche tourism; tourism impacts; longitudinal study.
Spiritual tourism on the island of Corfu: Positive impacts of niche tourism versus the challenges of contested space
by Heather Skinner, Pepé Soomers
Abstract: This paper aims to explore and explain the transformational impact of spiritual tourism on places and their residents. A qualitative case study has been undertaken on the resort of Arillas on the Greek island of Corfu, gathering data from various stakeholder groups in person and via online and social media. Spiritual tourism in Arillas has positively addressed the decline in fortunes experienced by many other resorts on Corfu but has also led to distrust and hostility among various resident groups comprising local people, ex-patriates, and members of the spiritual community. Implications of this research show that in such contested spaces, well-being needs to be considered not only in financial terms, but also in terms of the impact on all resident stakeholder groups of the physical and societal changes brought about by developments in spiritual tourism, with the well-being needs of any one group not taking precedence over that of others.
Keywords: Arillas; Corfu; Greece; mass tourism; all-inclusive; contested spaces; stakeholders; sustainability; spiritual tourism; special interest tourism; alternative tourism.
Generational Perceptions of Prosperity on the Niche Tourism Island Destination of Ikaria, Greece
by Jason Swanson, RayeCarol Cavender
Abstract: This study answers the call for new research approaches by investigating a cross-generational sample of residents involved in niche tourism and their perceptions of prosperity against the backdrop of an evolving niche tourism industry. Data were collected via in-depth, semi-structured interviews with nine participants involved in niche tourism, comprising three generational cohorts (i.e., young, middle, old), on the island of Ikaria, Greece. Data revealed five emergent themes (i.e., dimensions of prosperity) that provide insight into how residents conceptualize prosperity: community, means to an end, connection to place, change, and perceived impacts of tourism. The influences of family, friendship, cultural values, ideals, and health are the strongest indicators of Ikarians perceived prosperity in the context of niche tourism development on the island.
Keywords: Prosperity; resident attitudes; island tourism; niche tourism; quality-of-life; tourism impacts.
Rural tourism and residents well-being in Cyprus: towards a conceptualised framework of the appreciation of rural tourism for islands sustainable development and competitiveness
by Nikolaos Boukas
Abstract: While Cyprus tourism activity is significant, the island is mainly developed as a mass destination focusing only on seascape and leaving rural areas undeveloped. This situation, creates a series of problems related to the sustainable character of tourism, such as unequal development, decentralisation of rural areas, reduced quality of life of locals, decreased competitiveness, and lost opportunities. Employing a qualitative research approach, through semi-structured interviews with fourteen policy makers, high-level administrators, and tourist officials, as well as document analysis, the study examines the role of rural tourism in Cyprus for the well-being of its residents. Specifically, the paper identifies the development of rural tourism, designates its main forms and illustrates its role to the island residents well-being. Findings indicate, that even though not a primary activity, rural tourism is evident on Cyprus through the forms of agricultural tourism, cultural and religious tourism, nature-based tourism, and event tourism. The contribution of rural tourism on regional areas can be seen in several dimensions: economic, sociocultural, and environmental ones. While rural tourism is recognised as a sustainable niche form of tourism, several challenges such as its fragmented nature, inappropriate management, lack of knowledge, and micro-interests hinder its full appreciation and overshadow opportunities such as that it tends to be more sustainable and is much more recognised by tourism policy, in comparison to the past. The paper concludes with a framework that suggest three main broad strategies towards the sustainable development of rural destinations that will lead to the islands competitiveness as well as residents well-being: the Integrated Rural Tourism, the valorisation and application of social entrepreneurship, and the identification and utilisation of rural destinations capitals.
Keywords: Rural tourism; Cyprus; Integrated Rural Tourism; Well-being; Sustainable development; Social entrepreneurship; Islands.