Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (10): 1904-1919.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201710013

• Tourism Geography • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial differences in international investment in hotels and its driving factors in China

Tao LI1,2(), Jiaming LIU1(), Lei WANG1,2,3, He ZHU1,2, Ling YU1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Regional Sustainable Development Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. School of Humanity, Ningxia University, Yinchuan 750021, China
  • Received:2016-12-23 Revised:2017-05-05 Online:2017-11-10 Published:2017-11-06
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41130748;Research Project of University in Ningxia, No.NGY2015014;Research-oriented Talents Project of National Tourism Administration, No.WMYC20151110


Historical and empirical evidence shows that tourism was the pioneer industry to the development of international trade and economic globalization. As the important amenities and attraction spots, hotels have been the earliest tourism sector opened to international market. And the international investment in hotels (IIH) has empowered tourism industry and foreign direct investment (FDI) in China, especially, since the implementation of reform and opening up policy. In the evolution of global economy and domestic tourism, the spatial pattern of IIH also changed with consumption, transport accessibility, preferential policies and market scale, varying from south to north, and east to west in China. Spatial difference is a mainstream issue in the field of geography. IIH presented obvious discrepancy among provinces in China, due to the multiplex environment, economic conditions, industrial basis and demands. The study, firstly, introduced Coefficient of Variation (CV) to measure the spatial differences of IIH based on international investment data in tourist hotels in China. The results revealed that the fluctuation of CVIIH decreased since the 1990s but the center of Standard Deviation Ellipse about IIH skew toward North China, following the shift of barycenter in population, economy and tourism consumption. According to the theory of economic geography, it is assumed that the development of IIH was related to local economy and social environment. Secondly, the paper explored the spatial pattern of IIH and depicted its different characteristics, which were influenced by their sphere of spatial effect and institutional flexibility of decision-making. At the national level, the unbalanced patterns "the South was higher than the North and the East was better than the West", were keeping stable during 1991-2014. At the provincial level, there were three types of IIH evolution pattern, namely, U-shaped, inverted U-shaped and irregular linear growth. Thirdly, the paper quoted the Diamond Model as the theoretical basis to investigate the role of driving factors affecting spatial differences in IIH in China. At the same time, statistical methods were used to learn the relationship and quantify the role of factors. Furthermore, we concluded that the industrial environment and market demand were the most important factors that affect the dynamic differences of IIH in China. What's more, the results can also cast light on the "Belt and Road Initiative" that helps China advance the communication with Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle East, East Africa, Central Asia, and European countries. Finally, the research inspired us that extra-congregated sources of IIH were not beneficial to the equilibrium of international capital in China and the enhancement of competition ability to domestic hotels. Thus, China's traditional foreign investment strategy, under which China has invested mostly in Western Europe and America, should be revised to adapt to the new global capital environment, and the government should take reasonable actions to promote the implementation of the revised investment strategy so that the need for cooperation with more countries will be met.

Key words: spatial differences, driving factors, International Investment in Hotels (IIT), China