1st Edition

Chinese Heritage Sites and their Audiences The Power of the Past

By Rouran Zhang Copyright 2020
    268 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    268 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Chinese Heritage Sites and their Audiences provides a Chinese perspective on tourists’ relationship to heritage. Contributing to ongoing debates within heritage and tourism studies, the book offers insights into how and why visitors engage with such sites.

    Drawing on interviews with domestic tourists, local residents and heritage officials at the World Heritage sites of West Lake, Xidi and Hongcun, Zhang argues that tourists have agency: when they visit heritage sites, they are doing cultural, social and emotional work, whilst also negotiating cultural meanings. Providing an examination of the complex interactions between locals and tourists, the author then considers how tourists navigate and interpret heritage sites. Finally, Zhang examines whether the government or locally controlled tourism enterprises are more effective in facilitating meaningful cultural interaction between tourists and locals. Overall, the book demonstrates the interrelation between tourism and heritage, and the tensions that are created when the ways in which sites are used differ from the expectations of UNESCO and national or regional site managers.

    Chinese Heritage Sites and their Audiences pays particular attention to ongoing debates about heritage performances, the importance of emotions and the agency of tourists, and will thus appeal to academics and students engaged in the study of heritage, tourism, landscape architecture and anthropology.


    1. International debate on heritage and tourism

    2. Heritage and tourism in China

    3. The Chinese sense of heritage: the nature-culture journey

    4. Feeling a sense of place

    5. Cultural moments at heritage sites

    6. Local people's reactions to heritage tourism

    6. Discussion: emotion, tourist agency and heritage  



    Rouran Zhang is a lecturer in the College of Tourism and Service Management, Nankai University, China. He is an expert member of ICOMOS-IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism. He is a Chinese representative of the ongoing collaborative project of ICOMOS and IUCN entitled ‘Culture Nature Journey.’