The spatial pattern and driving mechanism of tourism development in border regions of China

YU Tingting1 ZUO Bing2 A Rong3 GAO Jun2

(1.College of Education for the Future, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai, Guangdong 519000)
(2.School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong 510275)
(3.School of Geographical Science, Inner Mongolia Normal University, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia 010022)

【Abstract】As an important part of sub-regional cooperation, border tourism has attracted increasing attention from the Chinese government and academia. The development of border tourism not only concerns the overall development of China’s tourism industry, but also relate to the overall situation of land security and social development. In recent years, China has issued a number of policies to support the development of border tourism, which shows that the government addresses great importance to the development of China’s border tourism. This paper takes 45 prefecture-level cities in border areas as the basic research unit, and calculates the comprehensive development index of border tourism to evaluate the development level of tourism in border areas. The tourism development data in 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2017 were selected for analysis. A variety of research methods, such as Theil index, geostatistical analysis and geographic detector, were applied to focus on two questions: the spatio-temporal evolution characteristics and driving mechanism of comprehensive tourism development level in China’s border areas since 2005; and the driving factors of tourism development in border areas and the influencing force of these factors since 2005. The research findings are as follows. (1) The overall regional difference regarding border tourism development level shows a fluctuating downward trend, which sees an increase, then a decrease and later stability. The internal differences of the three border areas of China (i.e., the northeastern region, northwestern region, and southwestern region) are bigger than the inter-regional differences among them. The contribution from regional differences to the overall differences is dominant. (2) The comprehensive index of tourism development in the border areas shows an overall upward trend. The role of Xishuangbanna in driving the development of tourism in the surrounding areas is significant, and the diffusion effect is gradually emerging in the southwestern region. In contrast, the comprehensive development of tourism in the northeastern and northwestern regions is relativity slow and has not formed a stable core region of tourism development. The comprehensive tourism development index of the regions with strong economic strength and abundant resources are generally high, while the resource-based cities with complex geographical environment and relying on traditional resources show relatively low comprehensive tourism development index. (3) The development of border tourism has gradually changed from driven by single factor to by multi-factors. From the overall characteristics of the spatial differentiation of border tourism, the density of traffic facilities, the number of ports, dependence on foreign trade, tourism resource endowment and GDP are the main factors affecting spatial differentiation of the comprehensive development level of tourism in border areas, and all the factors show positive impact. From the characteristics of border tourism development in different regions, factors that significantly affect the spatial differentiation of tourism development in various regions are different. Tourism development in the northeastern region is mainly affected by transport infrastructure, whereas that in the southwestern and northwestern region is mainly supported by their abundant tourism resources. Friendly geopolitical structure provides sound environment for the development of border tourism, but positive economic development is the basis to promote the development of border tourism. The research findings provide obvious policy implications. First, it is crucial for border areas to improve their own economic development, including opening more ports, building sound infrastructure, and promoting bilateral trades. Second, border provincial regions should take advantage of the growth pole effect, and promote regional development along the border by constructing growth centers. Third, different tourism development measures should be taken based on certain circumstances of local areas. For example, for the northeast region, it is necessary to further optimize the traffic lines, and put more efforts on developing border trades; for the southwest region and northwest region, it is necessary for them to further develop tourism resources rationally.

【Keywords】 border tourism; tourism resources; ports; geopolitics; regional heterogeneity; China’s border areas;


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Vol 41, No. 02, Pages 203-213

February 2021


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