Villagers' perceptions of tourism development in the Kaiping Diaolous (Watchtower Houses), China

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Villagers' perceptions of tourism development in the Kaiping Diaolous (Watchtower Houses), China

 

Author: Zhang, Jinye
Title: Villagers' perceptions of tourism development in the Kaiping Diaolous (Watchtower Houses), China
Degree: M.Sc.
Year: 2011
Subject: Tourism -- China -- Kaiping Shi.
Tourism -- China -- Kaiping Shi -- Public opinion.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: vii, 64 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2458044
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6434
Abstract: The Kaiping Diaolou and Villages are located in Kaiping, Southern China. This research seeks to investigate the villagers' opinions and perceptions of tourism. Based on these perceptions, suggested guidelines and recommendations for future tourism development in Kaiping Diaolous are presented. The objectives of this research are: 1) To identify Kaiping Diaolou villagers' opinions and perceptions of tourism development of the Diaolous; 2) To investigate Kaiping Diaolou villagers' perceptions toward the authenticity of the Diaolous; and 3) To seek villager's opinions and suggestions for the future development of tourism. The research adopted a descriptive research design. In-depth interviews were used to collect data from 7 interviewees who reside in two of the four listed villages (namely, Zili and Jinjiangli) The interviewees were asked: about their opinions and perceptions of tourism development; what benefits and costs does tourism brings to them; and also what are their perceptions toward the authenticity of the Diaolous. Content analysis was used to analyze the data. Findings of this research reveal that the more economic benefit the villagers receive from tourism, the more they perceive tourism positively, even though they suffer from some negative impacts of tourism such as increased noise, crowding, and an invasion of their privacy. The villagers indicated that they hope that there will be more tourism development because tourism can improve their livelihood. Moreover, their perceptions toward the authenticity of the heritage sites are similar to the viewpoints espoused in the anthropological and sociological literature which suggests that heritage should remain unspoiled, is the place of original, and traditional (MacCannell, 1976; Schudson, 1979; Handler, 1986; Bagnall, 1996). They also raised the point that authenticity of their heritage must keep the internal furnishings and include correct information especially of the exhibits on display. The villagers believe that the Diaolous should be kept authentic. In terms of suggestions for future development, the villagers indicated that the management company responsible for the Diaolou should improve the infrastructure to attract more tourists and to ensure that the Diaolous are kept authentic, no matter whether it is the external structure, exterior surfaces, or internal/interior furnishings.

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