University Park

Researcher explores rural tourism development in China

Tourism has transformed the traditions, lifestyles, and landscapes of rural China. Credit: Lan XueAll Rights Reserved.

Lan Xue, doctoral student in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, will present “Tourism development and changing identity in rural China,” at 10 a.m. April 23, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State. This indigenous knowledge seminar is free and open to the public and can be viewed online.

Xue’s presentation will highlight her research on the socioeconomic aspects of tourism development and how the local culture of a tourism destination shapes, and is shaped by, tourism development. “Since 1949, dominant discourses in China have portrayed rural residents as primitive, ignorant and lagging far behind their urban counterparts. Consequently, indigenous knowledge of the rural, acquired over millennia, has been ridiculed and ignored,” she said.

Using Chongdu Valley as a study site, Xue explored the changing images and identity of rural residents as a result of tourism development over the past 15 years. She says her research found that rural tourism has generally improved the living standards of local residents and elicited a sense of pride in their cultures and traditional knowledge, both of which have contributed to increased life satisfaction and community well-being. Rural tourism has also transformed the traditions, lifestyles, and landscapes of rural China and led to an increasing urbanization of what has traditionally been considered “rural,” she added. Xue will be introduced by Carter Hunt, assistant professor in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Management.

This seminar is co-sponsored by the University Libraries and the Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge. For more information, see For question about the physical access provided, contact Helen Sheehy at or 814-863-1347.

Last Updated August 31, 2015