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Tourism Experience and National Identity of China’s Middle Class: An Analysis of Their Domestic Travels and International Travels to Japan

Abstract
In recent years, the enthusiasm and purchasing power of the Chinese middle class have made China the world’s largest outbound tourism market and the top international tourism spender. How has tourism changed the consciousness of this socioeconomic group? This study examined Chinese national identity by analyzing this group’s domestic as well as international travels to Japan. Cognitive and emotional data of Chinese middle-class tourists were obtained through semi-structured interviews and their online travel blogs. Through quantitative and qualitative analyses, this study explored how touristic experiences of the Chinese middle-class affects their perception of nation and the construction of national identity. This study bridges research in tourism, national identity, and the middle class, among other related fields. It offers theoretical and practical suggestions for improving the images of the nation and the tourism destinations, and for expanding the tourism market in the future.
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