Towards an understanding of Chinese tourist photography: Evidence from the UK

Li, Mohan, Sharpley, Richard Anthony john orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2135-3206 and Gammon, Sean James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-5053-8763 (2019) Towards an understanding of Chinese tourist photography: Evidence from the UK. Current Issues in Tourism, 22 (5). pp. 505-521. ISSN 1368-3500

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The relationship between tourism and photography has long been subject to academic scrutiny. However, the extent research has adopted a primarily Western perspective, exploring the photographic practices of Western tourists. Conversely, more limited academic attention has been paid to the photographic practices of non-Western tourists. In particular, although China is now the largest source of international tourists, few attempts have been made to date to how and why Chinese tourists engage in photography during their international travels. This paper begins to address this gap in the literature, seeking to identify the extent to which the photographic practices of Chinese tourists are determined by what may be referred to as a ‘Chinese tourist gaze’. Drawing on research undertaken amongst Chinese tourists in the UK, it reveals a number of influences that determine the nature and significance of the Chinese gaze, including the traditions of pre-modern travel in China, contemporary socio-economic transformations in China, the role of the Chinese state, and technology, the latter suggesting the increasing adoption of a more universal, de-exoticized (photographic) gaze.

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