Chinese Outbound Tourism as a Form of Diplomacy

Sze Ming Tse

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


In China, outbound tourism is a manifestation of soft power and is inextricably linked with politics. The Chinese government is seen to be exercising control and influence in shaping its outbound tourism development so that tourism is developed in line with the country's political agenda. To comprehend China's outbound tourism, it is as important not only to know the consumer needs and wants, but also to understand the policy and politics. There is ambiguity in China's outbound tourism policy, and it lies not so much in the consumer area but in the politics and how tourism is treated as a form of diplomacy. The policy and politics often pose difficulties and barriers for those destinations that would like to develop the Chinese market. The present paper examines the political roles of Chinese outbound tourism and the impact of politics on tourism, using cases from Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. It was found that China uses outbound tourism to add clout to its soft power in dealing with diplomatic issues in the respective countries and regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages10
JournalTourism Planning and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Development


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