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The Evolution of Chinese Tourism Development Policies (1949-2013): A Quantitative Perspective. (English)

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    • Abstract:
      The effective operation of the tourism industry depends on the complexity and diversity of human social, political, economic and institutional arrangements it must interact with. In this study, the evolution of Chinese tourism policy since 1949 is examined from a new perspective based on an analysis of 379 tourism policies issued by the central government and relevant ministries over the past 65 years. This analysis is quantitative, based on a statistical analysis of the number and structure of the policies and policy instruments, and a similar analysis of the policy effort framework. Through these analyses, the paper reveals the relationships between tourism development and institutional arrangements that have been important along the path that the evolution of Chinese tourism policy has taken. The main conclusions from our study are: (1) Tourism policy in China has evolved from being based on the administrative allocation of resources into a market-based allocation of resources constrained by administrative powers. (2) The targets for tourism policy have always been developed with the strategic objectives of national economic and social development in mind. These can be divided into four: servicing foreign affairs, developing the business economy, providing a new growth point in the economy, and becoming a national strategic pillar industry. (3) Tourism policy is mainly used for micro-supervision. Tourism policy formulation lacks the ability to macro-control the factors of production such as capital, land, technology and talent. (4) Increasing numbers of government departments are becoming involved in formulating tourism policy, but policy efforts have become more stable. Recent studies suggest that the effective operation of the tourism economy is highly dependent on the institutional arrangements within the wider socio-economic system. Thus, when a new basic tourism law was enacted in 2013, development of the Chinese tourism industry entered a new stage. In this new stage, technological advances, market demand, and the competition and cooperative relationships among companies will jointly lead innovation in the tourism industry. Innovation, such as new products and new business models will in turn be the base for tourism industry development. Furthermore, industrial macroeconomic regulation and public service will become the basic elements of government tourism management under the new law. In short, over the past 65 years, changes in institutional arrangements have lent a strong impetus to Chinese tourism development. However, objectively speaking, the system design of Chinese tourism policy is still one of structural imbalances. The environment of tourism development policy remains administratively shackled and constrained, and yet needs to improve. At the national strategic level, the Chinese government still needs to formulate policies to promote the economic, social, cultural, international relations, and other integrated functions of tourism. At the industry level, the promotion policies generated by the tourism industry innovation system should be taken seriously, and at the market level a national welfare system of tourism needs to be promoted. At the management level, the promotion policy for tourism industry internationalization and the international discourse of the tourism industry will become new bright spots in the industry's evolution in China. To achieve these outcomes, supporting policies to promote industrial innovation, capital resources, technological development, personnel training, and other production factors associated with financial and fiscal policy, should also be innovative. It is expected that more tourism development policies seeking to support tourism industry innovation, tourism market liberalization and efficient tourism public administration will be issued in the future. All in all, effective operation of the tourism industry depends on appropriate institutional and political arrangements within the socio-economic system. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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