Poverty alleviation via tourism cooperatives in China: The story of Yuhu

Xiaotao Yang, Kam Hung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


As a fast growing industry in the world, tourism has accelerated economic development in many participating places. A large number of tourism cooperatives have emerged to capture conspicuous economic benefits from tourism in many rural areas of China. The role of tourism cooperatives has not yet been explored from the poverty alleviation perspective. Design/methodology/approach – Two field trips to Yuhu Village, Lijiang, China, which included in-depth interviews, were conducted during August and December 2011, aiming at understanding the roles of tourism cooperatives in poverty alleviation. In-depth interviews with villagers (45) and mangers of tourism cooperative (5) were conducted. A systematic coding procedure including open, axial and selective coding was conducted with the software assistance of ATLAS.TI6.2. Findings – Evidence from Yuhu suggested that resources and power changes, both of which are further divided into both individual and collective levels, are the main contributors to substantial improvements of the poor. Material and social resources were significantly accumulated. In addition, empowerment, referring to the improvements in status, legitimacy and capability/knowledge, facilitated villagers to obtain favorable policies. By embracing a more broad understanding of poverty, the tourism cooperative is proven to effectively alleviate the poverty suffering of Yuhu villagers. Originality/value – Understanding poverty from a multi-dimensional perspective is deemed to be critical to reveal the actual story, as evidenced in this study, with analyzing resource flows and power changes at different stages of tourism development. By embracing a more broad understanding of poverty, the role of tourism cooperatives in poverty alleviation was able to be noticed and emerged from in-depth interviews.Asystematic scrutiny has been carried out to examine the pro-poor effects brought about by tourism cooperatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-906
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • China
  • Community participation
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Sustainability
  • Tourism cooperatives
  • Yunnan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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