Chinese Outbound Tourism as an Instrument of Economic Statecraft
Journal of Contemporary China, published online March 26, 2020
25 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2019 Last revised: 27 Mar 2020
Date Written: January 10, 2020
China’s growing economic strength is increasingly providing Beijing with potent instruments of economic statecraft to pursue political and strategic objectives. Yet studies of economic power and associated instruments of economic statecraft tend to concentrate on trade in goods, outbound investment and international institutions. We broaden this research program into trade in services by focusing on China’s outbound tourism sector. Drawing on a variety of Chinese and English language sources, we describe the history and contemporary structure of the regulatory framework governing outbound tourism in the Chinese market. We then study instances where the Chinese government has apparently intervened to further its strategic interests. By understanding how Chinese consumers arrange overseas holidays, we provide insight into how the market structure of this service industry creates both opportunities for and constraints on China’s economic power.
Keywords: China, economic statecraft, tourism
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