Abstract

This article reviews 509 Chinese and international journal articles on cultural tourism from1976-2012. It compares the current situation of Chinese and international cultural tourism research based on the annual number of articles, main origin journals, constitution of authors, and distribution of case studies, research types, research fields, research theories and frameworks, and research methods. Generally speaking, Chinese and international cultural tourism research has shown an increasing trend in the past 37 years. The difference is that cultural tourism research started earlier abroad, and the number of articles has increased gradually internationally but sharply at home in recent years. The article also compares the evolution of Chinese and international cultural tourism research during three phases(1976-1989, 1990-1999, and 2000-2012). The analysis shows the following results: first, the types of study in both Chinese and international cultural tourism research were few and scattered in the twentieth century, but became abundant, diverse, and concentrated in the twenty-first century. Ethnic cultural tourism and heritage cultural tourism are the most important research types at home and abroad. The difference is that they achieved a dominant position in 1976-1989 abroad, but reached such position only in the twenty-first century in China. The secondary and auxiliary research types are not identical in China and abroad. Second, in the evolution of the cultural tourism research fields there are two booming and two declining areas domestically but five booming and two declining areas abroad. Specifically, current situation and problems of and suggestions for cultural tourism development, and sustainable development of cultural tourism are the two booming research areas in China, while theoretical considerations and regional cooperative development of cultural tourism are the two declining research areas. Hosts and guests, cultural attractions, marketing,sustainable development, and information provision of cultural tourism are the five booming research areas internationally, while current situation and problems of and suggestions for cultural tourism development, and theoretical considerations of cultural tourism are the two declining areas of research internationally. In addition, several new research fields have arisen both at home and abroad in recent years, which include cultural memory in cultural conservation, evolution of cultural tourism destinations, institutional culture in cultural tourism development, communication and management in cross-cultural tourism, and integration of cultural creativity industry and cultural tourism industry. Third, increasingly, a multitude of academic theories, frameworks, and research methods are applied in Chinese and international cultural tourism research. Academic theories and research methods applied overseas are relatively more diversified and advanced. Compared with international research,application of new theories, frameworks, and research methods in domestic research usually occured later and progressed slowly. Chinese scholars concentrate on descriptive and conceptual analysis, while overseas scholars focus on descriptive and statistics study. Application of modeling methods has been on the rise both at home and abroad in recent years. Finally, the article projects the trends of domestic cultural tourism research in the future,and proposes to switch from concentrating on theoretical research to combining theoretical research with applications, from tracking and referring international research to independent innovative research, from focusing on qualitative study to combining qualitative and quantitative studies, and from isolated research to cooperative team research.

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