Tourism promotions of… countries in local, national and international travel agencies are full of representations that stereotype Indigenous peoples as “exotic”, “mysterious”, timelessly “authentic”, and almost indistinguishable from nature. The culture and identities of these people are reduced to a commodity to be bought and sold. In a context in which these Indigenous peoples have been politically marginalised and socially disadvantaged, tourism through governmental or private organisations has continuously excluded their agency.
Gabriela Coronado - ‘Selling Culture?: Between commoditisation and cultural control in Indigenous alternative tourism’ (2014)
The phenomenon of ‘social tourism’ is growing more important in China, according to an article published by the Xinhua News Agency on Sunday. This means that more and more Chinese people are now considering travel as a regular expenditure in daily life, rather than a luxury purchase.
Experts on the tourism industry studied several factors that usually indicate a ‘social tourism’, such as disposable income, free time and the influence of tourism. They claimed that due to the increase in people’s incomes and free leisure time, more people are looking to travel. In terms of lifestyle, tourism has now become a normal and popular aspect of people’s lives.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the per-capita GDP in 2015 was 49,351 yuan (approx.7,500 US dollars), which indicates that Chinese people are now able to go on a trip for pleasure and not only for business, Xinhua News Agency quoted Lou Jiajun, Professor of tourism at East China Normal University, as saying.
According to regular trends witnessed in international tourism, when per-capita GDP reaches 5,000 US dollars, the country can provide a general and basic structure for a low-cost tourism industry, Lou added.
Dai Bin, President of China Tourism Academy, told Xinhua that the travelling habits of Chinese people have shown a shift away from visiting tourist attractions, with urban populations visiting more rural areas of China.
This change in travel habits has dragged 10 million people out of poverty, which makes up 10% of the population living in poverty in China.
Data from the National Tourism Administration shows that tourism contributed 7.34 trillion yuan to the national GDP in 2015, making up 10.8% of the national GDP. As an industry covering many different areas, tourism propels development in sectors such as accommodation, traffic, culture, finance and telecommunications.
As ‘social tourism’ develops further, cities should incorporate the travel industry into their general planning policies and administration, said Shi Peihua, President of China Tourism Think-tank.
“If Colorado is able to successfully legalize marijuana without causing a social backlash, the tourism, tax and other considerations are likely to compel several other states to quickly follow suit. […] State officials expect dozens more to open across the state, and some have estimated that pot sales could add more than $200 million to Colorado’s economy. Colorado residents 21 and older are allowed to buy up to an ounce of marijuana per transaction, and out-of-state customers are allowed to purchase up to a quarter-ounce.” –Niraj Chokshi, Washington Post