Developing Sustainable Tourism in Ethnic Minority Villages in China
Author: Lor Jun Ying Jean
University: Seoul National University, South Korea
This paper argues that the development strategy of ethnic minority tourism in villages is crucial to understanding differential tourism sustainability. Two ethnic tourist villages in Guizhou, China – Xijiang and Upper Langde – present different development strategies and different resulting tourism sustainability. An external developers-driven development strategy with a profit-maximizing motive is overtly focused on the economic aspect of sustainability – profit, while ignoring the social and environmental aspects of sustainability – equality, livelihood, culture, as well as the natural and built environment. This thus leads to low levels of locals’ support and poor resource management, both of which are necessary for tourism to continue to operate long-term. In contrast, a locals-driven development strategy with a welfare-maximizing objective considers all three aspects of sustainability, leading to an ideal position of sufficient profit, high locals’ support and good resource management. As such, given sufficient profit levels that ensure continued operation of the tourism industry, the development strategy that is adopted from the beginning is key to ensuring sustainable tourism development in a path-dependent manner.