Contesting the Commercialization and Sanctity of Religious Tourism in the Shaolin Monastery, China

Kam Hung, Xiaotao Yang, Philipp Wassler, Dan Wang, Ming Chu Lin, Zhaoping Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The Shaolin Monastery annually attracts millions of visitors from around the world. However, the overcommercialization of these sacred places may contradict the values and philosophies of Buddhism. This study aims to comprehensively understand the balance between commercialization and sanctity, engaging with 58 Chinese practitioners and educators in seven focus groups. Participants articulated their expectation to avoid overcommercialization, and they discussed the conflicts between commercialization and sanctity to further explore on how to mitigate overcommercialization. Based on the study findings, a balanced model of religious tourism development is proposed, and specific recommendations are offered to sustainably manage religious sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


  • commercialization
  • culture
  • kung fu
  • religion
  • sanctity
  • Shaolin Monastery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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