Tourism as a Territorial Strategy in the South China Sea

  • Rowen I
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Abstract

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) is deploying tourism as a tool in its territorialization program for the South China Sea, reconfiguring geopolitical imaginaries and popular political discourse, and developing new leisure spaces, economies, and infrastructure. This approach is consistent with China’s deployment of outbound tourism to achieve political objectives in other regions, both within and far beyond its periphery. Outbound tourism from China has been used as an economic lever for extracting political concessions not only in nearby Taiwan, but as far away as Canada. This chapter first situates and provides a brief political history of China’s general outbound tourism policies and practices before turning to the South China Sea itself. Particular attention is paid to the territorial claims implicit in new Chinese passport designs and the establishment of the Sansha City administrative region, which covers much of the South China Sea. This will be followed by a qualitative analysis of official state announcements and destination-marketing materials from both private and state-owned Chinese travel agencies, and online how-to guides and blogs. This analysis explores the territorial implications of representations of South China Sea destinations as not only new sites for leisure, but also for the performance and training of a patriotic Chinese citizenry.

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Rowen, I. (2018). Tourism as a Territorial Strategy in the South China Sea. In Enterprises, Localities, People, and Policy in the South China Sea (pp. 61–74). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62828-8_3

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