Socially sustainable ethnic tourism: a comparative study of two Hakka communities in China

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Journal Article
Tourism Recreation Research, 2017, 42 (4), pp. 467 - 483
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Ethnic tourism is a catalyst for economic and sociocultural development in many countries. However, ethnic tourism development has given rise to many challenges associated with the sustainable development of ethnic regions within different cultural contexts. This paper addresses the social aspect of sustainable ethnic tourism through comparative case studies of two ethnic Hakka tourism destinations, Nanyuan and Sujiawei villages in Heyuan, Guangdong Province, China. The comparative case-study research design included in-depth interviews, document analysis and a household study in each case-study village. The comparative case study provides insights into factors contributing to socially sustainable ethnic tourism in China, including levels of community involvement, control of the tourism ‘product’, the benefits accruing to the ethnic community, perceived inconveniences/externalities and authenticity considerations. This study contributes to a better understanding of socially sustainable ethnic tourism in a Chinese context, and has practical implications for ethnic tourism destination marketing, management and policy-making.
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