An Analysis of Tourism Policy Development in Modern China

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Tourism Management 20 (1999) 471}485

An analysis of tourism policy development in modern China
Hanqin Qiu Zhang*, King Chong, John Ap
Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong Received 28 March 1998; accepted 3 September 1998

Abstract Tourism in China has rapidly developed since the adoption of open-door economic reform policy in 1978. There is still little understanding about the role played by the Chinese government in the development of tourism. This paper represents a "rst attempt to identify the roles played by the Chinese government in developing its international inbound tourism. The period examined is from 1978, a turning point for China's development, to the present. Generally, the Chinese government has played the following roles: Operator } involving ownership and provision of the infrastructure for tourism development and operation of tourism business activities; Regulator } formulating and implementing regulations to control tourism business; Investment stimulator } stimulating tourism investment through the provision of "nancial incentives; Promoter } spending money on the promotion of tourism in the international market; Coordinator } coordinating activities of di!erent government departments with respect to tourism; and Educator } establishing a system of tourism education institutions and providing tourism education and training programs. Analysis of the policies and government roles in China was examined systematically in terms of demands, decisions, outputs and impacts for each of the three historical periods identi"ed, namely 1978}1985, 1986}1991 and 1992 to the present. The framework adopted for examining the policies in terms of demands, decisions, etc. represents the speci"c policy issue components of the tourism policymaking process suggested by Hall's model (1994). Based on China's experiences, some implications of the governmental roles for other developing countries are suggested. 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: China; Tourism policies; Tourism development; Government roles

1. Introduction Following the introduction of the economic reform policy by Deng Xiao-ping in 1978 (also known as the open-door policy), tourism in China has developed rapidly and gradually become a signi"cant economic activity. In 1996, visitor arrivals totaled 51.1 million, a 27 fold increase from 1.8 million in 1978. In terms of economic contribution, tourism receipts increased from US$ 2.6 billion in 1978 to US$ 10.2 billion in 1997 (China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), 1985}1998). Total receipts for tourism earning in terms of foreign exchange from exports increased from 2.7% in 1978 to 6.8% in 1996 (CNTA, 1985}1998; State Statistical Bureau of the People's Republic of China) (see Table 1). Government involvement has greatly in#uenced tourism development, particularly in developing countries with socialist economic systems. Most developing countries are characterized by a scarcity of resources, especially for tourism development, and the private *Corresponding author. Tel.: 852 2766 6368; fax: 852 2363 9362; e-mail: hmhanqin@polyu.edu.hk

sector generally has little experience with the tourism industry. Governments in developing countries tend to be more actively involved and have assumed key developmental and operational roles. In socialist countries, where the private sector is small or non-existent, the level of government involvement would be greater than that in countries that have a predominantly free-enterprise philosophy (Jenkins & Henry, 1982). China is a developing country with a socialist economy and the private sector in the tourism industry is small. For example, in 1995 state, collective or alliance owned hotels (i.e. joint state, collective or stock owned) totaled 2944, accounting for 79% of the 3720 hotels in China. Private-invested, foreign-invested, or Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan-invested...
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