Phase 3: Interpreting Information

Updated 1 year 4 days ago

In Phase 0, I have selected what my topic will be and have collected some tips and pointers from previous Microcampus students. In the end, I decided to write my topic upon tourism dependency and sustainability, which can be found on this page. In Phase 1, I have inquired about my topic, creating questions that will be answered along the way to Xizhou. In Phase 2, I have found resources that may help guide my study to a great level. In Phase 3, I will be looking for information both firsthand and online. 

Background Information (from Phase 1):

Yunnan

The economic status of Yunnan is considered to be more undeveloped and poverty-stricken than other provinces; it has become self-dependent in terms of supporting the people within the region and economic issues[1]. The serene environment of Yunnan is built upon the high mountains and lots of lakes, including Lake Erhai, which is close to Xizhou[7]. Yunnan is in the southwest of China, including various types of plants, especially known for their ancient and derived plants, and animals[7]. Yunnan is also known for its ethnic minority group, the Bai people[3]. Since Yunnan has so many lakes and water sources, the water offers hydro-energy[7]. Though Yunnan may be a scenic and beautiful area, it is also known to be more poverty-stricken, wherein 1994, about 7 million people living in Yunnan lived below the poverty line with an annual income less than ¥300 per capita[7]. Yunnan is also deep into the trading system, have being trade partners with over 70 countries and regions, exporting tobacco, machinery, electrical equipment, and agricultural products[7]. Most of the citizens of Yunnan are from an ethnic minority called the Bai ethnic group, which is one of the largest and most prosperous groups in Yunnan[12]. They live mainly on farming, livestock raising, tourism, and handicraft industries[12]. My goal in Xizhou is to find the connection and truth between the actual dependency on tourism[12]

Tourism Dependency

Tourism dependency is where a country needs tourism and its impacts to various extents to provide for their citizens or the host communuity[6]. Tourism dependency can have various impacts on society, which are the economic impact, social and cultural impact, and the environmental impact[6]. To build on the impacts, positive impacts often come from the idea of tourism development, a concept to keep everything from the tourist and the host community balanced and equal[8]. This will become the criteria and base that I will assess how dependent Yunnan is on tourism. The economic impact of tourism is essentially the increase in job opportunities, the quality of the job and the income, the promotion of living standards, and the attraction from outside investment[6]. The root cause of tourism development and then tourism dependency is the social and cultural impact[6]. Social and cultural impact conveys the idea to respect and understand another culture, to preserve that culture, and the positive interactions between tourist and host[6]. Tourism development is caused by the idea of the environmental impact, as to keep everything balanced, the environment cannot be destroyed if one country is dependent on tourism[6]. The idea of tourism affects a perspective, dependent on where they see fit; a person whose income is dependent on tourism would see tourism better than a resident in a noisy tourist-filled community[6]. For example, in a country like Taiwan, where tourists are commonly found, a research study was held to inquire about the dependency on tourism and tourism development in the host community[6]. Out of 776, 478 or 57.8% have jobs related to the tourism industry and that the mean analysis to find the perspectives shown that the largest mean was on condoning tourism and its impacts[6]

Tourism Sustainability

Another issue that is linked to tourism dependency is the topic of tourism sustainability. First and foremost, what does tourism sustainability mean? At first, I believed tourism sustainability to be how dependent a country is on tourism. Going forward, the definition of tourism sustainability in the context of my inquiry project will be, quoted from the World Tourism Organization, "tourism that focuses on current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts while still maintaining the needs of the visitors, the industry, and the host communities"[5]. From a humanitarian standpoint, sustainable tourism helps in the attempts to accept the various cultures and appreciate the local and more unique values of the community[4]. Tourism sustainability is a completely plausible and good idea, though the obstacle blocking this concept is a priority of a country to its people and to its community[4]. The various forms of this topic can be put under ecological tourism (ecotourism), rural tourism, and community tourism.[4].  Ecotourism is where one is more careful and attentive when its travel in the host community can affect the environment[4]. Rural tourism is the emphasis of visiting more rural areas to not only benefit to the income of the people in the host community but to benefit in participating in a rural lifestyle[4]. Community tourism is the concept to involve the local community in tourism activities, which can be beneficial if the area is dependent on the tourism industry[4]. Looking more in-depth into how to help promote tourism sustainability, one as a tourist should be aware of the environment and respect the community[4]

Sustainable Ecotourism and Cultural Tourism [22]

Tourism can be divided and split up in many different sectors, of which ecotourism and cultural tourism belong. These sectors exist to define the purpose of which the tourists or visitors are visiting the place. Ecotourism is a form of tourism, though its difference from other types is that it is nature-based experiences, meaning that people come to such places to examine nature-based experiences. On the other hand, cultural tourism is where culture is maintained and presented through tourism. The idea of sustainable tourism pushes the concept of conscious visitors and host communities, balancing the design of tourism for mutual benefits, and maintaining other systems to be less affected, such as the artistic, ecological, political, and other values of the community. 

Heritage Tourism[19]

Heritage tourism is the idea of tourism or tourists traveling to a place to learn about cultural or historical interest. Often times, the culture of visiting is seen as exotic or unique, though to the locals, it would be considered average. Therefore, the study of heritage tourism or the purpose is in helping of proving perspectives of learning cultures of the host community. Cultures are one of the many victims that are run over by globalization and modernization of society since trends become more uniform. Because of this, it is controversial to push or pull the idea of heritage tourism; heritage tourism extends the culture by extending it to tourists. Trends in heritage tourism include authenticity and interpretation.

Authenticity is a vague concept when it comes to tourism, though there are types of authenticity that can be found. This concept can be comprised as a country pushes its necessity for tourism as an income or anything like it. There are three main stages of the beginning of heritage tourism. There is authenticity, commodification, then something called new-authentic. A small traditional society is considered authentic until it becomes more globalized. The act of globalization and its partaking in society is what begins a process of commodification. As this grows, tourism also grows. Globalization not only seeps out culture, but it also brings attention to such places because of fast-paced world-wide communication. What is left of a perhaps traditional society that was originally somewhat isolated is a new society of tourism and culture.  

Economical and Environmental Changes in Xizhou

Recent policy and enforcement policies have had a major effect on the community in XIzhou[9]. Around April 2017, a new edict from the government of Yunnan's Daily Prefecture has the potential to shut down up to 1,000 of the businesses in Dali[9,11]. This edict requires all stores, vendors, and any commercial operations in a 100-meter radius or "core area" of Lake Erhai to be inspected in criteria such as health issues, sanitation, certificates, and lots more legal paperwork[9]. Up to 2000 guest houses and restaurants along the 130-kilometer stretch have already closed down[10,11]. Hotels and business have to refuse tourists and customers due to the shutdown[11]. The business that lacks one to all documents would be shut down, possibly for 15 months[9]. Because of this policy, many stores and cultural places can be closed due to the lack of proper paperwork[9]. This not only affects the business itself but the culture and tourism industry of that area, which could include stores from Xizhou and possibly Dali, a city once claimed the "hidden gem" of China[10]. Furthermore, the government is also reclaiming all farmland, which includes the most scenic lakeside hotels[10]. Mei Zhang, the author of Travels through Dali with a Leg of Ham, mentions that she remembers Dali transforming into a cultural community dubbed, "Dalifornia"[10]. The purpose of this operation is not biased, rather it is because there has been a suspicion that the "several hundred" local businesses that open every year dump their waste into the lake[9]. The key problem in this situation is the arrival of the "New Dali People", who came in 2004, including writers, artists, and film-makers[10]. Although some may unknowingly do it, it has led to a 50% higher pollution load in Lake Erhai[9]. Lake Erhai is the second largest lake in Yunnan, and annually, the lake bounces between Class II and Class III for the Environmental Quality Standards for Surface Water[9]. If this waste problem continues, Lake Erhai could end up in Class IV, where the lake should not be touched by humans; therefore, taking away one of the key tourist attractions of Yunnan[9]

Tourism and Its Impact on Xizhou and Yunnan

Tourism in Xizhou is not uncommon; in fact, it has expanded since the 1990s[2]. Some people had lost their jobs in the 1990s, for reasons such as a farmer whose crops were infested, and have sold small objects since[2]. If anything, tourism can be considered a major income source for food shops, antique shops, and embroidery shops as roughly 65% of customers are tourists[2]. Furthermore, describing the tourism industry in Xizhou, Xizhou would be considered both integrating ecotourism and cultural tourism, forming something called geotourism, where impacts are brought to the environment and host community. Attracted by the tranquil scenery of Xizhou, tourists often come to this small town by an old saying, "Poor Dali, rich Xizhou" and because of the famous people that once lived in Xizhou[2]. The government furthermore have also put up advertisements to go to Yunnan [3]. The shops in Xizhou are claimed to be famous in the world already due to tourism [2,3]. Furthermore, most tourists come to Xizhou to see the ethnic minority groups[3]. Using the criteria for tourism dependency, Yunnan is a region that moderately depends on tourism[2,3]. Although the tourism industry is not large in Xizhou because it is a more quiet town, when tourists come, it creates large competition for the vendors on the streets [3]. Although most people in Xizhou see the importance of tourism, it is an interruption in their peaceful life[2]. There are various perspectives on the impact of tourism though, as some believe that it has made Xizhou famous while others believe that it has no major impact other than the income it brings[2].  In fact, when tourists come, most often the vendors and the host community will raise the price for their items to earn more money[3]. Because of this, the negative impact is that the culture does not remain as traditional and preserved as it used to be[3]. To help adapt to the new tourists coming in, some styles in the community started to look more Western rather than Bai[3]

Information From 3-to-5's:

Mr. Tafel

  • Many stores have moved over the years, depending on rent, construction, renovation, and which place is considered the "main marketplace".
  • Around 40% of the shops now are silver shops, though the reason why is unclear. Recently, while connecting with business owners in the community, they mentioned that business is slow and that it is way down.
  • The types of industries and inventories are also changing because of the recent people that visit.
  • Compared to 5 years ago, there was no tourism, though it was part of the big trade routes. The concept of the big marketplace was a huge part of this.
  • The stretch of Sifang Jie and Linden Center used to be very local products for people in the community, though now it more for tourists.

Ms. Mai

  • Sifang Jie used to be similar to the wet market in Xizhou. Some stores were in the middle of Sifang Jie.
  • The government decided that they wanted everyone to run their stores around Sifang Jie and cleared the middle to allow tourists to walk around.
  • Nowadays, some lives may revolve around the aspect of tourism in Xizhou, such as some vendors or travel curators.  

Ms. Braverman

  • There are two types of vendors:
    • who are locals
    • who have come from various parts of China
  • Depending on where they come from, vendors can want tourism to increase or decrease.

Ms. Wang and Mr. Yang

  • A few years back, Xizhou was not as full of tourists as it is today.
  • Some people like the Lindens brought in the Westerners and groups of people that wanted to see "rural China", bringing the tourism industry into Xizhou.

Information From Local Contacts:

The Li family (Mother and Daughter)[13]

  • Sells Xizhou baba, a typical snack that tourists often buy in Xizhou
  • Located in Sifang Jie, commonly selling to tourists and SAS students
  • Selling Xizhou baba for at least 30 years
  • They have moved from place to place within Sifang Jie, which may be due to rent, government policies, etc.
  • In the recent 10 years, tourists have come, although before, there were few to none
  • There used to be little baba makers, though now, there are plenty in Sifang Jie
  • Nowadays, there are fewer tourists visiting Xizhou compared to a few years back
  • Sifang Jie used to be like the wet market, built for the community, though now it is more for tourists

Mr. Yang[14]

  • Selling baba for 5-6 years
  • Used to work outside of Xizhou, doing physical labor jobs before selling baba
  • Originally from and grew up in Xizhou
  • Noticed big changes in Xizhou regarding the tourism industry, from no outside people to plenty
  • Lots of tourists visit his stand as Xizhou baba is one of the main snacks in Xizhou
  • The Yang Family Compound Museum
    • In his childhood, they did not need tickets to come into that building.
    • Was a police station
    • Nowadays, lots of tourists and people visit that place and need to pay to get in.
  • Many years back, only the older generation would wear traditional clothing, and commonly in the Spring Festival
  • Nowadays, Bai people whose jobs do concern tourism wear these to show people their culture in a more vivid scale. Otherwise, he says that not much has changed about it. 

Mr. Zhang[15]

  • Selling baba for over 20 years
  • Been a lot of changes in tourism
  • Agreed that protecting Lake Erhai is more important than tourism
    • The cleaner the lake is, the more people will visit and enjoy the scenery
  • Tourists that visit Xizhou are both foreigners and domestic
  • Always been in the same stand in Sifang Jie, a generation passed down to generation
  • Noticed those old buildings renovated and the idea of gentrification being apparent
  • Used to be snack shops and restaurants to provide for the locals, now silver shops and marijuana-patterned tie-dye cloths for foreigners and tourists
  • Does not know about the specifics of the culture being affected by tourism, though he would definitely say he was affected by tourism
  • Even if they were no tourism, he would make baba anyways
  • Prefers the "old" Xizhou that he has lived in 20 years ago

Mr. Yan[16]

  • Selling baba for about 28 years
  • Originally from Xizhou
  • Definitely more tourists than before and that is good for his business
  • The government policy regarding Lake Erhai is good
  • Supports the efforts to help Lake Erhai
  • Says that his tourists come from all over the place, whether it is the northeast, west, east, southwest, etc.
  • His life did change because of tourism and that change is commonly good for keeping life interesting and for keeping his business going
  • 14-15 years ago, they had to do more physical work because of the lack of people that wanted to buy Xizhou babas
    • Tourism has enabled them to be able to sell the things and keep the professions they want while being able to sustain their families
  • Affected their culture by making more of an emphasis on it and the quality of their community just bigger
    • Due to the incoming tourists that want to see a diverse fascinating place where they can eat, live, and breathe in a totally different area. 

Mr. Li[17]

  • Been a silversmith for about 10 years, working in his shop, Silvery Square
  • Comes from Heqing like most of the silversmiths
  • Decided to come here because of the people saying that things sell really well in Xizhou
  • Customers are both from Xizhou and tourists
  • Tourists prefer more simplistic-designed bracelets and/or necklaces
  • Locals prefer more detailed-designed bracelets and/or necklaces
  • Does not believe that tourists really affect his life, though he does believe that the tourism industry is definitely growing bigger.
  • Rent
    • In Sifang Jie, rent used to be cheap, around 150,000 yuan per year
    • It is now 400,000 yuan per year
    • He, and perhaps other vendors, do not raise their prices, though it is therefore very important that they sell a lot
    • 10 years ago, his rent used to be 6,000-7,000 yuan
    • 5 years ago, it was 10,000 yuan
    • Nowadays, it is 20,000 yuan
    • The increase in tourism is the reason why the rent is so high
      • Since vendors in SIfang Jie and around it can make lots of profit
    • Other places like Dali Old Town can also see this effect
  • Tourists often visit Lake Erhai, old houses, gift shops, and leave
    • Pretty short visit
  • Regarding the government policy of restricting businesses to prioritize Lake Erhai, he believes that there is not a definite way to save it
    • Because it is really big
    • Because lots of families live around it
  • He and his family are used to the lifestyle
    • where they have to work for the prices under pressure
    • though they always have the option to stay or leave. 

Mr. Zhang[18]

  • Sells antiques and has been for 40 years
  • Originally from Xizhou
  • Ships antiques from all over China to receive these items
  • Observation of Business
    • witnessed tourists, that seemed to be from other parts of China
    • bargaining with him
    • kept questioning whether a jade necklace was real or not, telling him to lower the price from 300 yuan to 100 yuan
    • Mr. Zhang only allowed for the price to be dropped down to 200 yuan
    • Customers seemed to be pretty disrespectful with their tone, saying that the necklace is fake
    • Mr. Zhang persuaded them by saying that they are certainly real and that if they were not, they could return the necklace and he would refund them 1,000 yuan
    • The customer pulled out his lighter and lit a section of the necklace
      • Plastic melts under heat, jade does not melt and the
      • Flame proved it was jade
  • Began selling antiques and such since he likes antiques and history
  • Respects tourists that bargain, though it depends on themselves
    • If they believe that it is a fair price, they will just take it firsthand, but if it is not, then they will try.
  • Only tourists buy these things, unlike regular customers.
  • Inference: His business has been fluctuating because of the types of tourists visiting and the rise of the tourism industry in the past 10 years
  • Tourists that visit his shop are most, if not all, Chinese or from around Asia, although they are still a lot of foreigners that come to Xizhou
    • This is because of the type of styles that Chinese like
  • Believes that tourism has many benefits and believes that it is good
  • Agrees that there has been a rise of tourists over time
    • No opinions on this 
  • Believes that prioritizing the environment is important, especially since he grew up seeing the lake
  • Thinks that the impact on businesses and farmers may be harsh
    • Prioritizing the environment will be more important since once it is fixed, many tourists will come
    • Tourists will not want to come if the environment is bad since Xizhou is known for its environment. 

Mr. Li[21]

  • A farmer in Shen Jiang Cun
  • Grown up in Jiang Cun
  • House was next to Lake Erhai
  • His house was taken over by the government
    • Took it because of the new government policy to prioritize Lake Erhai
  • Thinks that closing down businesses, taking away property, and tourists have nothing to do with the impact on Lake Erhai
  • Believes that Lake Erhai is quite important and valuable
  • Lots of tourists do come to the morning market where he sells his crops, although they do not buy anything
  • Most of the people that visit the market are local tourists
    • Some foreign tourists here and there. 

Tourists[22]

  • In general
    • Many of the tourists come to Xizhou as a 1-hour-trip to go through as they are on a tour in Yunnan
    • Most of the tourists did not have opinions on the place as they just come and go
    • Many of the tourists I introduced myself to said that they have no time since they are just coming by 
  • The first group of tourists
    • Ms. Li, who came over with her friend
    • Came over on a tour of many places
    • Enjoy how preserved and cultural the place is
    • Came over for a class, as many people do
    • See that lots of people that come to Xizhou for educational or informational purposes
  • The second group of tourists
    • Came over to just visit the place
    • Did like the restaurants and how welcoming the people are
    • Came to pass by on their tour in Yunnan
  • The third group of tourists
    • Group of women
    • Stopped by the square on their way to new places in Yunnan
    • They said that Xizhou is just one of the many places that they like and look forward to too

Ms. Chen

  • A shop owner on the alley from Yang Zhuo Ran to Sifang Jie
  • Seems quite young
  • Sells simplistic styled tie-dye clothing, which includes mostly gradients of light-blue to white clothing
  • Has been working in Xizhou for one year
  • Her parents are from Xizhou
    • She is not from Xizhou
  • The rent of her shop is mildly expensive
    • In other places like the west side of Sifang Jie, it is about double or triple of her rent
  • Was not able to compare her experience from years back to its current status because she has not been in Xizhou for a long time
  • Customers are more from the Xizhou community or from other places in China since the paths that diverge downhill from Sifang Jie are usually for people that live here
  • She just talks to tourists that come over
  • Her life or business is impacts or dependent on tourism, though it has helped her business along
  • Business in action
    • Tourists who were mostly like Chinese (since they had spoken Chinese quite fluently) stopped by in her shop.
    • She let them try on some clothes
    • They did not end up buying anything

Ms. Wang

  • A shop owner that sells tea
  • She is very interested in culture and business
  • Not originally from Xizhou and is from Beijing
  • Has been working in Xizhou for 5 years
  • Very open with teaching me specifics and reasons why tourism has been really brought to Xizhou
  • Reasons Why People Come to Xizhou
    • She came to Xizhou because of its relaxing culture
    • People do not typically come to Xizhou, specifically Erhai, to learn about what the scenery is and educate themselves, but to relax and enjoy their life for a while
    • Translating a quote that she said in Chinese, she said that although the name of the lake may be Erhai, the true meaning of the place is just for people to relax and do nothing other than taking pictures.
      • "If you wanted to go visit somewhere to do things, you would go to a quick-paced place like Shanghai or Beijing, but that is not the lifestyle of this place."
    • Mentioned that tourists come here to experience and to witness the "18 weird things about Yunnan"
      • such as the sun-rain, where it rains while being sunny
      • traditional wedding ceremonies and wedding pictures taking in Xizhou and how people have to wear specific types of clothing
    • People do not visit places like Xizhou to experience their normal lives but to compare and contrast them with the lives of other people
      • such as how I would see myself differently than perhaps another 13-year-old that is from Xizhou
  • Marketing and Architecture
    • Said that architecture and design are actually really important to how many customers and tourists visit the place
    • Tourists often visit places that are very modern or very cultural, depending on their background and where they come from
    • Many stores just pile up things on the alley, hoping that tourists will be attracted to their store
    • Her store
      • The walls are neatly covered in bamboo and tie-dye styled clothes
      • Neat shelves with displays of the teas on there
      • No spotlights or anything like that
    • Her tactic to attract customers is the feeling of comfortability
      • So people think that they can truly be in a space to explore the culture and buy things
    • Does not prioritize making money 
    • Likes teaching people about the culture
      • I think that there should be more sellers in tourist-filled communities like her
    • The difference between her, a seller from another part of China, and people that are from Xizhou is that they do not excel in marketing
    • People from the Xizhou community, although maybe dependent on tourism to do their jobs, prefer to be kept within the community
    • Ms. Wang uses her tactics of multi-purposing to expand her business
  • Culture
    • Said that many of the people originally from Xizhou are not happy with people like her who come from other places since they take away business
    • People should know how to take care of their own culture, therefore business, first
    • Analogy: When an American learns a Chinese instrument, but a Chinese person is mad at the American person because they do not know the instrument.
      • The blame should not be on the American, rather the Chinese who did not prioritize pushing and preserving their culture. 
  • Said to definitely meet someone who is from Xizhou to truly compare these two perspectives. 

Mr. Linden[25]

  • Linden Centre has a big impact on tourism
  • The goal was not to make Xizhou a tourist attraction or to develop tourism
  • It is supposed to be a model of culture and livelihood
  • The development happens because of globalization
    • Since Dali has high rent, people should go to various places like Xizhou
  • They are currently trying to convince the government to contain the development
    • Not destroy buildings
    • Keep the people that are originally from Xizhou from being "exiled" away
    • Gave government $5 million to preserve the culture
  • People that are from Xizhou have a problem that they do not know how to take the right opportunities
    • Lack of confidence in an industry like tourism, in themselves
  • Tourists that are in the Linden Centre are 50% foreign, 50% Chinese
    • Few guests from Asia
    • Come for educational purposes or informational purposes
    • The foreign tourists in Xizhou are mostly due to the Linden Centre
  • Xizhou used to be a working class
    • The government spent money to beautify the city
    • Even if there was no change, the Linden Centre would still be successful
  • Linden Centre came to Xizhou because of the story
    • Once a very wealthy village
    • Successful village
    • Architecture
    • People
  • Other villages eventually become something that people expect an exotic place to look like, not the true culture
  • Issues with the Development in Xizhou
    • Is it necessary?
    • Do the people want it?
  • Beautifying the city is like making a better version of Xizhou
    • Less poverty-stricken
    • Otherwise, it would be tourists coming to Xizhou to look at people who are poor
  • Believes that government should enforce zoning regulations
    • You cannot just open a shop because you want to
    • There should be owner occupancy
      • Where the owner lives in the community area that they buy the place for
      • To integrate culture and prevent people that prioritize money over culture
  • Admits that the tourism development will just worsen
    • The government has pressure to make the preservation of culture work because of the $5 million
    • Cannot stop newcomers from coming in to sell
  • The social fabric of Xizhou will eventually be destroyed in the sense that the community will eventually fall apart
  • People in China should have a different business mentality
    • The main issue with tourism and business
    • People are more "selfish", meaning that they prioritize money more
    • Pushing away culture and taking advantage of it to produce money
    • People should put the value of culture before business

Mr. Lu[26]

  • Works at a woodcarving shop
  • Has been working there for around 1 year
  • Says that lots of his customers are now tourists
    • Both from China and from other places
  • Makes both simplistic and intricate things to suit the taste of his customers
  • Says that the rent lease for the building is for 15 years
  • Around Sifang Jie, it is way more expensive and for a shorter period of time

Mr. Zhao[27]

  • Owns a coffee shop/motel with his wife
  • Originally from Shandong
  • Worked in Xizhou for 5 years
  • Came to Xizhou because of the climate and weather
  • Says that managing a business is hard in Xizhou, especially because of the lack of tourists
  • Says that Xizhou has very little tourists compared to Dali Old Town
  • Prefers Xizhou because it is closer than ShaXi in terms of an airport or transportation but not as crowded as Dali
  • His rent lease goes by 15 years
    • Better than people whose contracts are 1 or 2
    • Those shops are more close to Sifang Jie
  • Says that his best times of the year is around summertime because of the amounts of tourists that come into Xizhou
  • Does not advertise his shop through signs rather through online advertising
  • Thinks that Xizhou definitely have increasing amounts of tourists come in, though it will never become like Shanghai or Beijing

Ms. Huang[28]

  • Has been working in the Linden Centre for 8 months
  • A travel curator
    • helps in arranging activities for the tourists
  • Originally from Guangdong
  • Studied in Guangzhou
  • She learned about Mr. Linden and the Linden Centre when she studied in Guangzhou
    • Mr. Linden was talking about architecture preservation
  • Thinks that tourists are attracted to Xizhou because of its architecture and the weather
  • Tourists usually comprise 60% foreigners and 40% people here
  • Says that tourists come to Xizhou and often enjoy the Linden Centre tour and the morning market tour
  • Foreigners also go to cooking classes and weaving classes to experience the culture
  • Most of the tourists that visit discover Xizhou because of friends and the internet
  • Tourists come here for vacation or to learn about the community around them
  • Some tourists find the Linden Centre because of the large canola field that is around it

Mr. Max Li[29]

  • Has been working in the Linden Centre for 3 years
  • A manager that makes sure that everything runs smoothly for the visitors
  • Originally from Shanxi
    • The 3-hour flight away from Xizhou
  • Thinks that people come to Xizhou to really relax
    • Enjoy the scenery
    • Eat dinner
    • Etc.
  • Like Xizhou because it is serene yet the Linden Centre balances relaxing and getting work done
  • Thinks that Xizhou is not that big of a place, so there is not a lot of places to visit
  • Tourists visit the Yang Family Museum, the park, Sifang Jie, Lake Erhai, etc.
  • Most tourists just browse around in the markets

Answers to Previous Questions (from Phase 1):

1. What types of tourists visit Xizhou?

Tourists that visit Xizhou are comprised of both foreigners and locals from China.

2. What do tourists often buy and visit in Xizhou?

Depending on the tourist, they can buy all sorts of things. Tourists often visit Lake Erhai and Sifang Jie, but they do not stay for long. They often buy little souvenirs that they can bring back to their homes such as tie-dye clothes and Xizhou baba. They also buy flower crowns and do the hair weaving. They also buy what they think or the supposed traditional and bright colored clothing. 

3. How do vendors interact and work with tourists?

Although it is not exactly definable, some jobs of the vendors depend on the tourists, making tourism valuable and important to their lives and to support their family. This is true for every vendor and customer relationship. Tourists come from anywhere in the world, so there is no general or main interaction that all tourists follow when interacting with vendors. 

4. What does the host community think of tourists visiting their area?

The host community is very welcoming of tourists visiting Xizhou, especially since the tourism industry is one of the more significant industries in Xizhou. There is no main opinion on tourists since tourists do not usually stay in Xizhou for more than one day.

5. How does tourism affect your job?

All, if not most, vendors around Sifang Jie depend on tourism and customers to provide for their job, especially since most of the rents on the houses of the vendors cost a lot. Such vendors could be antique shop owners, Xizhou baba makers, and silver-shop owners. Travel curators and people working in the Linden Centre definitely work and depend on tourism to sustain a basic profit, though their program expands far more than tourism. Business owners that are further away from Sifang Jie do not need tourists as much as others in Sifang Jie. 

6. What are the main types of customers? If your customers include tourists, how would you describe these tourists?

The main types of customers depend on the job. The customers of restaurant owners often consist of more people from the community, but the customers of Xizhou baba makers usually consist of many tourists that come in groups. Tourists are often curious about the culture and ask the owners about it if the owner is from Xizhou. 

7. What priority do the vendors put Lake Erhai compared to the significance of tourism?

This question became really irrelevant as I ventured more into my topic, as vendors that depend on tourism in Xizhou are not usually located near or depend on Lake Erhai. Furthermore, Lake Erhai is not the major or most important impacted aspect of my topic. I have not found a direct substitute for this question, though rents are a large impacted aspect in regards to tourism. This can be found under Question #10 below. 

8. How do the tourists treat the community environmentally and socially?

Tourists do not necessarily or intentionally cause harm to the environment or community, though their existence in the community tears apart the social fabric of Xizhou and the environment. When tourists are in the area, it gives fewer opportunities for the people from Xizhou to build and strengthen their community, but to put more effort into providing for tourism. Also, although tourists may not create lots of waste or trash, the numerous amount of tourists and their waste accumulate up to lots of trash. This can go to impact the air quality of certain places and it has impacted Lake Erhai through the opening of many hotels and businesses. 

9. How has tourism affected the culture of Xizhou?

People that grew up in Xizhou say that the culture seems to be more preserved because of the necessity of tourism and that tourists want to experience the culture of Xizhou. On the other hand, some people say that the culture has not changed much. 

10. How have citizens living in Xizhou changed because of tourists? (Alternative Meaning: How has tourism impacted the citizens' lives?)

Nowadays, some lives have become more dependent on tourists and the tourism industry. Before working to sell things to tourists, they used to do physical labor or such. In a way, some people say that tourists have disrupted their community lives though they have made finding jobs closer to home easier. 

Now, I will be moving on to Phase 4, where I will be reflecting and beginning to report my knowledge in this inquiry project through a final product. I know that I am ready for beginning this once I have really absorbed and thoroughly understood the knowledge that I have found while conversing with people around Xizhou. When or how I will understand is not certain, though I am confident that I am ready to move onto Phase 4 once I have a clear sense of how I can portray my knowledge in the following days. 

Sources:

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  9. Scally, Patrick. "Up to 1,000 Dali Businesses to Close in Face of New Policy." GoKunming, 6. April 2017, https://www.gokunming.com/en/blog/item/3920/up_to_1000_dali_businesses_t..., accessed January 25, 2018.
  10. Needham, Kirsty. “Smog Refugees Pollute Dali, China's 'Hidden Gem'.” The Sydney Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 Apr. 2017, www.smh.com.au/world/smog-refugees-pollute-dali-chinas-hidden-gem-201704..., accessed January 26, 2018
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Comments

Hi! I am 13 years old and was in Xizhou. I have been at SAS for about 5 years and beyond Shanghai, lived in Los Angeles. I am grateful to be able to go to experience the life of others in different cultures and to be able to witness and observe things from a learner's perspective. I liked experiencing new cultures and looking at things from both a tourist and student perspective. In a sense, this serene and vivid city has brought me to realize how everything and everyone works together, perhaps even not realizing it! This trip to Microcampus has helped build bonds with people I never knew, helped me understand a whole different style of living, and be able to learn in a new fashion.