An Integrated Framework Of Tourism Development And Residents' Quality Of Life In Tourism Destinations In Transition In China: A Case Study Of Yangshuo, Guangxi Province

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He, Li (2019) An Integrated Framework Of Tourism Development And Residents' Quality Of Life In Tourism Destinations In Transition In China: A Case Study Of Yangshuo, Guangxi Province. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


Tourism, as an instrument to eliminate poverty in rural communities globally, has attracted great academic attention for over a decade. One of the key topics in tourism impact research is how tourism influences local residents’ quality of life, which has been studied intensively using a quantitative approach. However, while correlations between tourism impacts and residents’ quality of life were evidenced by numerous case studies, our understanding of what influences the links between the two remains limited. This gap restrains the effectiveness of using tourism to improve residents’ quality of life in the process of developing the economy in the destination community. Additionally, as quality of life is a highly-contextualised concept, there is a call for more studies to be undertaken on tourism-related quality of life in different cultural contexts, including China. To address the need to understand the factors ‘bridging’ tourism impacts and residents’ quality of life, the presented study conducted a case study in the first tourism destination that was opened to international visitors in China, Yangshuo County, Guangxi Province. The study aimed to identify the important domains of quality of life among residents in Yangshuo and their perceived tourism impacts, explore the links between residents’ quality of life and tourism development from different perspectives of various tourism stakeholders, and understand residents’ expectation of improved quality of life and tourism development in the long term. A qualitative case study methodology was applied. Over 45 residents, government representatives and tourism stakeholders were interviewed during June and July 2015. The key findings include the following: 1. Interviewed residents’ perceived quality of life domains include family and family culture, material and environmental well-being, employment, income and living cost, community identity and social interaction, public service and safety, lifestyle and freedom and sense of security. Tourism was perceived to contribute to the enhancement of these residents’ quality of life throughout the years, especially in the material and environmental well-being and employment and income life domains. However, these residents perceived a reduced satisfaction degree towards environmental well-being and sense of security for future income due to the recent tourism development in Yangshuo. 2. The perceived economic, socio-cultural and environmental impacts of tourism in Yangshuo were similar to existing tourism impact case studies. More positive economic impacts were perceived while more negative environmental impacts were identified. There were diverse views in some impacts, influenced by personal level factors. However, different from what literature suggests, these residents were supportive of tourism development in Yangshuo regardless of their household dependence on the tourism industry, which might be explained by the theory of place attachment. 3. Triple “bridges” composed of Tian (Time), Di (Place), Ren (People) as well as opportunities affected by policy and other tourism stakeholders were identified as links between tourism and residents’ quality of life. The bridges illustrated how the timing of tourism development, the destination characteristics and people-people interactions determined how residents’ perceived tourism impacts on their quality of life. The declining residents’ quality of life was primarily associated with the decrease in opportunities, including their capability to access future income. Policy change was seen as the principal cause. However, from the government’s and other interviewed stakeholders’ perspectives, the re-structure of opportunities in Yangshuo was key to its sustainable tourism development and the realisation of residents’ expectations. Based on these findings, a theoretical framework was developed to describe tourism impacts and perceived quality of life through bridges, opportunities and factors influencing opportunities. The implications of the findings and the conceptual framework to a broader community, the limitations of this study and future research recommendations are provided in this thesis.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1506 Tourism
Historical > FOR Classification > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords tourism; residents; quality of life; tourism destinations; China; Yangshuo; Guangxi Province
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