Literature Review for Asian popular culture

King, Victor T. “Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia.” Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 20.1 (2012): i-vii.

Tse, Tony S. M. “Does Tourism Change Our Lives?” Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research 19.9 (2014): 989-1008.


A thought-provoking question that arises with the dynamic changes in the world is whether tourism has any impact on people’s lives and the society. It is indeed true that people can spend their entire lifetime without visiting a tourist site in their own country or even travelling to a foreign nation with the objective of gaining the tourist experiences in other parts of the world. Many countries in Asia have intriguing tourist attraction sites and cultures that are capable of drawing both local and international visitors. The big question that arises is whether people realize the contribution of tourism to their lives and their society. This paper seeks to examine the contributions of tourism by conducting a literature review. The analysis will be based on articles by: King (2011) on ‘’ Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia’’ and the study by Tse (2014) ‘’ Does Tourism Change Our Lives?’’

An outstanding similarity that arises from both articles is that they both seek to highlight the increasing significance of tourism. The studies divulge that the contributions of the tourism sector in people’s lives and the society cannot be ignored. Tse (2014) conducts his research in China, where the responses elicited by the study group showed that the involvement of Chinese people in tourist activities has been on an increasing trend. This is mainly attributed to the benefits derived from the activities. In the context of China, there has been an increasing attention on outbound tourism not only due to the sheer volume but as a result of the social implication (Tse, 993).

Similarly, King (2011, p1) also highlights the substantial benefits of tourism in South East Asia. The author discloses that tourism in the South East Asia was at infancy stages during the 1990s. Nevertheless, in the recent years, the sector has expanded due to the explicit benefits that arise from tourism. King (2011, 1) discusses the manner in tourism has endorsed the culture of South East Asia. Due to increased cultural flow and physical migration in and out of the region, social interactions and cultural integrations have increased. These interactions have further resulted in mixed communities, cultural hybridization arising from the multiculturalism phenomena. The process of cultural interaction has therefore made South East Asia to be identified as one of the most fascinating and culturally complex regions around the globe. With the developed the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a new genre of culture, both real and imagined consisting of new values, space and borders have been created.

The discussions presented by both articles also signify the idea that tourism in the Asian region has revolutionized with the advent of globalisation. From the analysis of the articles, the two authors seem to agree with the fact that the paradigm of tourism in the Asian region has greatly changed. Tse (2010, 933) reveals that people in Asia today have transformed their approach to tourism. Many people from Asian countries travel to different location across the world in order to experience the adventure from the various tourist destination. According to a survey conducted by UNWTO, the number of international trips that were made by Chinese travelers has increased from 10 million in the year 2000 to 83 Million in the year 2012. China, can, therefore, be ranked as one of the World’s emergent tourist markets. Forecasts project that by the year 2020, China will be a leading tourist market. Outbound tourism is common undertaking by Chinese tourists (Tse 2010, 933).

King (2011) in his editorial ‘’Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia’’ also discloses the fact that tourism in South East Asia has changed, with the expansion of globalization. The South East Asia is credited for its numerous tourist attraction. This prompted the UNSCEO to inaugurate many sites in the regions as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Field works and research studies have often been conducted on the sites whereby 20 out of 31 sites have been inscribed as UNSECO sites. The fundamental objective of such initiatives is to ascertain the preservation of the heritage and culture of the people of South East Asia. King (2011, 5) reveals that most of the sites have been inscribed as part of the World Heritage list have resulted in conflict between stakeholders, locals and national governments and the communities living around the sites. The conflict mainly arises from the issue of management and the need to control the final gains derived from the sites.

It can, therefore, be stated although both articles highlight the benefits of tourism, they provide an insight into the manner which tourism has actually reformed principally due to the increased level of globalization across the world. It is due to globalization that many people from China are becoming international tourists as highlighted by Tse (2010, 933). In addition, globalization has instigated the formation of international institutions such as UNESCO, which identifies interesting tourist sites and ranks them. The resultant effect of such activities is the emergence of conflict among various stakeholders who claim control over the famous sites,

Both authors also agree to the fact that the concept of ‘’ human value ‘’ is actually the most predominant contribution of tourism. According to King (2011, 5) despite the changing nature of tourism, in most cases, tourists sites and activities are mainly geared towards advancing human believes, standards and convictions. For instance, Heritage sites offer an ideal location in which the study of identity, heritage, believes and culture can be understood and analyzed. In addition, the communities located in such sites develop their identity from the existence of such locations within their community. Tse (2010) also discloses that involvement in tourism instigates the development of values such as Eudemonia which is the perfection that makes a person strive to express positive virtue, therefore, providing meaning to their own lives. People also gain a state of happiness which makes them treat others positives. When compared to people who do not travel, those who traveled seems to be more optimistic, caring and loving. The study, therefore, propagates that tourism brought about positive human values to individuals (Tse 2010. 1006)

A contrasting feature that exists between the two articles is articulated in terms of the benefits of tourism presented by each author. The Tse (2010) article; “Does Tourism Change Our Lives?” examines the individual benefits derived from tourism. Tse (2010) study appears to have the objective of filling an existing gap in many studies conducted within the field of tourism. Although tourism is intrinsically a social phenomenon, most studies focus on the impacts on the destination or the receiving area. The effects of tourism on the tourist have not been scrutinized (Tse, 2010, 1006). Tse (2010) therefore argues that it imperative to examine the effect of tourism on the tourist, by answering the question; does tourism change our lives and how? The study probes respondents on the manner in which tourism has impacted on the lives. Some of the benefits listed by the respondents include travelers seemed to be happier and more confident. They developed better financial and time management attributes, they became positive about life and accomplished more. Young travelers gained the ability to deal with modern day pressures that emerged from the dynamic world.

On the contrary, King (2011, 2) majorly focuses on the benefits of tourism to the society through the case of South East Asia. The study mainly focuses on the cultural benefits of tourism. The author further examines advantages associated with improving the heritage of the people of South East Asia. King (2011, 2) perceives culture as a learned, taught, transmitted and shared part of collective life. It consists of the ideational, conscious and conceptual dimension of human life that is embodied in the material objects (artefacts and arts). Tourism can be seen as a way of preserving the culture of a society. The heritage of a society on the other hand, is denoted by the concrete and tangible elements of the past which include constructed landscapes, artefacts, sites, monuments and buildings. It also comprises of the culturally expressed behaviors, performance, and actions. King (2011, 5) discloses that tourism in the region is changing in the sense that society analyses and conceives the cultural particulars including heritage sites as tourist developments.

It can, therefore, be argued that The Tse (2010) article; “Does Tourism Change Our Lives?” , takes a more psychological approach towards examining the benefits of tourism due to its focus on the individual changes that a person gains due to the involvement in tourism. On the other hand, King (2011) editorial on the “Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia.”, takes a societal approach by examining the cultural and heritage benefits derived from tourism.

Variations also exist in the methodology of both articles. Tse (2010) article; “Does Tourism Change Our Lives?” takes up an empirical study approach whereby the author uses focus groups in order to examine the benefits of tourism to individuals. The findings attained from the responses of the focus groups are then analyzed to come up with conclusive benefits. King (2011) article on the “Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia”, is basically an editorial that uses a review of literature in order to highlight the heritage and cultural impacts of tourism on the people of South East Asia. The article, therefore, relies on secondary data in order to gather facts as opposed to primary data as depicted by the Tse (2010) article. A weakness can, therefore, be seen in the King (2011) article based on the fact that most of its findings are from other authors which can sometimes be inconsistent.

In terms of the benefits of the two articles in contributing towards the understanding of the topic on the contributions of tourism, it can be argued that the study by Tse (2010) on how tourism changes our lives is more insightful and thought provoking. Many studies as argued by Tse (2010, 1006) have concentrated on the impacts of tourism on the destination or the receiving areas. It is indeed imperative to change the dimension of understanding tourism by focusing on the physiological and individual benefits that can be acquired from tourism. Despite the need to examine the societal benefits as indicated by King (2011), what is evident is that with the changing nature of tourism due to increased globalization, the significance of tourism can appropriately be measured through the individual facet

Despite the variations in terms of contributions towards the understanding of the topic, both articles are useful in promoting the view that although society continues to experience change which also affects the tourism, there is a need to promote involvement in tourism and also to preserve and conserve the resources that promote tourism. King (2011, 5), argues that there is a need to resolve the existing conflict that arises among the stakeholders in tourist sites. The involvement of each stakeholder varies, as a result, it is vital for those in charge of management to devise effective leadership approaches in order to preserve and conserve the tourist sites. According to King (2011, 5), the society cannot benefit from the sites if poor management exists. Tse (2010, p1006) on the other hand highlights that there is a different approach of looking at tourism. It does not only involve the behavior, motivation and satisfaction with the travel destination but rather it involves how such experiences impact on people’s lives. Ultimately, promoting involvement in tourism for the intrinsic gains is essential.

In conclusion, both articles are essential in unveiling the existing phenomena in Asian tourism in the 21st century. Tse (2010) discloses the fact that many Asian’s today are inclined to outbound tourism. King (2011) on the other hand discloses that with the ranking of more Heritage sites in the Asian region, conflicts are emerging over the control of such sites. What is evident from both articles is that tourism has positive benefits both to the society and individuals. It is, therefore, crucial to preserve and conserve the existing the culture, heritage, and destinations that support the tourism sector for the future generation.

Works Cited

King, Victor T. “Culture, Heritage and Tourism in Southeast Asia.” Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 20.1 (2012): i-vii.

Tse, Tony S. M. “Does Tourism Change Our Lives?” Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research 19.9 (2014): 989-1008.