Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2004, Vol. 59 ›› Issue (3): 427-436.doi: 10.11821/xb200403013

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Studies on Tourism Commercialization in Historic Towns

BAO Jigang, SU Xiaobo   

  1. Center for Tourism Planning & Research, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2003-07-09 Revised:2003-10-12 Online:2004-05-25 Published:2004-05-25
  • Supported by:

    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40171027


This paper analyzes the current commercial status quo in the tourist historic towns of Zhouzhuang and Lijiang in China by using first-hand data. It examines the present use of historical buildings in the two towns in order to investigate the relationship between tourism and the use of buildings. In 2002, 682 building units in Lijiang, accounting for nearly 70% of all units in the main streets, were used for commercial purposes catering tourists; while 10.42% of the buildings catered local residents. These findings suggest that Lijiang has become a tourism-oriented town and its traditional culture is being threatened by tourism. This applies to Zhouzhuang, which attracted 1.5 million tourists in 2000, when 67.02% of building units in the main streets were used to cater tourists, while only 7.28% of them served local residents.A comparison with the use of historic buildings in 2000 and 2002 in Lijiang reveals that commercial units have been increasing rapidly. Tourism plays a key role in this process. As a result, tourism commercialization has taken place in Lijiang. The same case is also true for Zhouzhuang.

Key words: historic towns, tourism commercialization, tourism development, Lijiang ancient town, Zhouzhuang ancient town