Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2006, Vol. 61 ›› Issue (12): 1271-1280.doi: 10.11821/xb200612004

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Temporal Change of Regional Disparity in Chinese Inbound Tourism

CHEN Xiuqiong, HUANG Fucai   

  1. School of Management, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
  • Received:2006-03-22 Revised:2006-10-18 Online:2006-12-25 Published:2006-12-25
  • Supported by:

    Natural Science Foundation of Fujian Province,No.Z0515008


Tourism is acknowledged as one of the effective means to balance inter-regional economic disparity in the world. This paper uses Theil coefficient which can be decomposed multiply, to measure temporal changes of inter-provincial, inter-regional and intra-regional disparity in Chinese inbound tourism from 1990 to 2004. Just as the result suggests, regional gap in Chinese inbound tourism from 1990 to 2004 can be summarized as follows: First, on the whole, regional disparity in Chinese tourism becomes smaller and smaller and its speed is slower as well. Secondly, intra-regional disparity is larger than that of inter-regional. Intra-regional disparity is the main contributor to inter-provincial tourism disparity. Thirdly, inter-provincial disparity remains large in the early 1990s, shrinks sharply in the mid-1990s, and continues declining in the early 21st century. Fourthly, inter-regional disparity shrinks all the time except in 1991 and 2003. Fifthly, eastern intra-regional disparity decreases sharply. Western intra-regional disparity is smaller and fluctuates slightly. Middle intra-regional disparity keeps large and has increasing trends. This paper further analyzes the factors influencing temporal changes of regional inbound tourism disparity. By comparison with other researches on temporal changes of regional economy, this paper has two meaningful discoveries: one is based on the shrinking trends of regional inbound tourism disparity and the widening trends of regional economic disparity. We think our research provides a good proof that tourism can help to balance regional economic disparity and thus help to narrow the regional economic gap. The other is that Chinese inter-regional tourism disparity becomes smaller and smaller. However, in the meantime Chinese inter-regional economic disparity becomes larger and larger. So inbound tourism can also help to balance inter-regional economic disparity.

Key words: regional tourism disparity, temporal-spatial change, Theil Index, inbound tourism, China