News from the motherland : a content analysis of existential tourism magazines in southern China

A.A. Lew, Chi Yun Alan Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Ethnic Chinese who reside outside of mainland China proper constitute an enormous opportunity for tourism and economic development in China (Lew & Wong, 2003). Overseas Chinese have a strong sense of common origin, based on both racial and cultural grounds, which are further enhanced by business, social, and familial ties. These ties often take the form of existential tourism, which Cohen (1979) defined as travel back to a personal or spiritual “center” located away from one's home. This article presents the results of a content analysis of publications from Guangdong Province in China for ethnic Chinese residing outside of China. The content analysis results indicated that very strong existential tourism ties exist between Guangdong Province and the US and Canada in North America, and to adjacent Hong Kong and Macau. Examples of efforts to strengthen common origins included 56 articles on biographies of overseas Chinese individuals and 24 articles on overseas Chinese society and culture (out of 176 articles examined). Other major topics included efforts to build networks and investments, domestic news articles, donation story articles, education-related articles, investment-related articles, and articles on activities of local overseas Chinese Affairs Offices. Stories of rootfinding visits and the theme of “Love of -Country” were also prominent. These magazines indicated how local overseas Chinese Affairs Offices are proactive in strengthening ties with overseas Chinese through travel and tourism, upon which social and then business networks can be established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalTourism, culture & communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • China
  • Diaspora
  • Economic impacts
  • Ethnic networks
  • Existential tourism
  • Guangdong Province
  • Overseas Chinese
  • Social impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Communication
  • Cultural Studies


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