Tropical Geography ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (6): 931-941.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003200

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Progress and Trends in Tourism Geopolitics

Liu Yungang1,2, Song Zongyuan1   

  1. 1. School of Geography and Planning, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    2. School of Geography, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
  • Received:2019-09-06 Revised:2019-11-07 Online:2019-11-10 Published:2019-12-26


With the development of global tourism, tourism has become a part of people's daily geopolitical practice; however, the study of tourism geopolitics tends to be ignored. The study of tourism geopolitics embodies tourism and geopolitics as its two main subjects. On the one hand, it helps to explain the powerful logic of tourism policy and analyzes the non-economic effects of tourism. On the other hand, it can also extend the research scope of geopolitics, making it more concrete. This study summarizes the existing related studies collected from Web of Science and CNKI. Based on the research scale relationship, namely the relationship between national and individual scales, this study holds that research on tourism geopolitics can be divided into two scale parts, national-national scale and national-individual scale, and one independent topic of geopolitical factors of tourism. Studies of national-national scale in tourism geopolitics consist of tourism and territorialization, tourism and world peace, and border tourism as three subtopics. The study of tourism and territorialization explains how tourism can be used as a territorialization tool such that the countries concerned can pursue political demand by utilizing it. The study of tourism and world peace illustrates debated topic that has been discussed for many years, i.e., whether or not tourism can promote world peace. The last topic, border tourism, is connected with geopolitics through three subtopics. Those are the means by which geopolitics shape a border landscape, the effect of border control policy upon border tourism, and the effect of particular geopolitical events upon tourism. The national-individual scale includes tourism and identity and tourism and geopolitical imagination as two subtopics. The former explains how tourism can influence tourists’ and inhabitants’ identity while the latter explains the mutual construction of tourism and geopolitical imagination using popular geopolitical scope. The independent topic, geopolitical factors of tourism, without an apparent research scale, explains the factors that may influence the development of tourism. The national-national scale research studies remain the main research scale in existing research but there are increasingly more research studies focused on an individual scale. This tendency parallels the entire research scale of geopolitics. This paper concludes by presenting four topics that can be studied in the future based on the analysis of existing tourism geopolitics studies. In the context of booming big data research, the first topic suggests a quantitative approach of measuring state-to-state relationships and then combines it with tourism research. The second offers a new perspective of using a visa regime to reflect the dynamic state-to-state relationship. The third regards tourism as an active geopolitical strategy and surveys how this strategy could impact the tourism industry, the international image of a country, and an individual’s identity. The last topic is a multi-scale study of border tourism that includes national-national, national-individual, and individual-individual scales.

Key words: tourism, geopolitics, territorialization, identity, border tourism, geopolitical imagination

CLC Number: 

  • F592