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Co-creation and tourism : Chinese tourist experience at Port Arthur Historic Site

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Ma, Yue ORCID: 0000-0002-1021-4171 2019 , 'Co-creation and tourism : Chinese tourist experience at Port Arthur Historic Site', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The general aim of this thesis was to seek alternative approaches to understand tourism experiences while profound changes are seen in societies. A review of the literature identified that the co-creation approach to tourism experiences has received considerable attention, from both tourists’ and operators’ perspectives. However, gaps remain in current knowledge. How tourism experiences are created has not been fully considered within current theoretical frameworks. Existing theories related to the co-creation of tourism experiences neither adequately explain the process of mediated experiences, nor provide consideration of the distractions that can interfere with tourism experiences. There is also a need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of how socio-cultural background of tourists shape and influence the creation of tourism experiences.
There is perhaps no better example to do this than to study outbound Chinese tourist experiences, because as has been documented, the past four decades have seen enormous changes taking place in China. Academic research into the tourism experience and co-creation has not captured these changing and diverse economic, social and political circumstances. The review found stereotypes, over-generalisation and over-simplification in the literature on Chinese culture and tourists’ behaviour and experiences. On the other hand, the profound and rapid changes that this culture has undergone has exposed weaknesses in traditional theoretical concepts and generalisations which are unable to explain Chinese tourists’ experiences.
To achieve the research aim, this thesis specifically examined tourism experiences based on Chinese tourists visiting Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia. The fieldwork undertaken for this research took place between December 2016 to February 2017. Semi-structured interviews facilitated by participant observation were the main methods of data collection. Reflecting on the fieldwork that were marked by multiple challenges, particularly, but not exclusively on the limited time of Chinese travellers in Tasmania; this thesis contributes to tourism methodology by critically assessing the potential use of a Chinese social media app - WeChat for qualitative data collection. It critically discusses the advantages, limitations and concerns of using WeChat as a data collection method.
The data resulting from these methods were used to build understanding of how Chinese tourism experiences are created and what factors affect the creation process. Drawing upon the findings, this thesis sheds light on the impact that significant changes undergoing in China have had upon the experiences of Chinese tourists when they travel to the Port Arthur Historic Site. The results illustrate that distractions and mediators influence the joint creation of Chinese tourists’ experiences. Within the discussion of distractions, ‘tourist anxiety’, a neglected concept, was highlighted as a lens through which to view the outcomes of social, economic and political changes that impact on tourism experiences. The data also summarised three characteristics of Chinese tourists. They are semi-independent as well as heterogeneous, and their experiences are mediated, which form the co-creative Chinese tourists.
The findings provide an enhanced and holistic understanding of the co-creation of tourism experiences, highlighting the socio-cultural changes that have taken place in a society. This thesis argues that both mediators and distractions are joint creators of tourism experiences – contribute to the co-created experiences. Building on this conceptual understanding, a framework of the creation of tourism experiences that considers mediators, distractions and socio-cultural background of tourists is developed. This may be used as a planning tool by tourism operators and destinations to guide the strategic design and provision of tourism experiences.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Ma, Yue
Keywords: Tourist experience, co-creation, Chinese culture, tourist anxiety, mediatiors
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 the author

Additional Information:

Chapter 5 appears to be the equivalent of an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of China tourism research on 24 April 2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/19388160.2019.1607794

Chapter 6 appears to be the equivalent of an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published as: Ma Yue, Ooi C. S., Hardy A., Yang, 2018. Chinese travelling overseas and their anxieties, in, Asian cultures and contemporary tourism, SpringerNature Singapore, E. C. L., Khoo-Lattimore, C. (eds.), Singapore, pp. 201-220. ISBN 978-981-10-7979-5, DOI: 10.1007/978-981-10-7980-1

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