The politics of tourism development in the People's Republic of China
This study aims to develop a holistic view of the politics of tourism development in China. It examines how political ideology intertwines with tourism development and the same time identifies factors which are relevant to the issue. From the political science point of view, international tourism may be regarded as part of foreign affairs. This study adopted the case study approach linked to a chronological framework. China's tourism industry has been transformed from a political activity to an economic activity. In Mao Zedong era (1949-1976), international tourism was virtually non-existent. The phenomenon was a result of both internal factors, including the dominant role of dogmatic socialist ideology, and external factors, such as the Cold War. China's rapid development in tourism since 1978 was under the pragmatic leadership of Deng Xiaoping. With the shifts of internal and external environments, China's tourism industry and development is now based on market-driven policy instead of ideological-driven policy. The development of international tourism in China is the evolution of development theories from underdevelopment theory to modernisation theory and now globalisation theory. Based on the findings of this study, an explanatory framework was formulated by incorporating factors including perspective on the external and internal environments, and economic and tourism issues. The future of China's tourism seems to be a movement from the socialist market economy model to a more capitalistic model.