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Sustainability and the Tourist Wall: the Case of Hindered Interaction between Chinese Visitors with Malaysian Society

Long, F and Ooi, CS ORCID: 0000-0002-0824-3766 2022 , 'Sustainability and the Tourist Wall: the Case of Hindered Interaction between Chinese Visitors with Malaysian Society', in AS Balasingam and Y Ma (eds.), Asian Tourism Sustainability , Springer, Singapore, 81–99.

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Many tourists want to travel in a more socially sustainable manner, which may mean that they have to engage more meaningfully with the host community. Tourists however inadvertently travel in bubbles. Tourist bubbles reduce tourist anxiety but they also build tourist walls between them and the host society. The wall seems to prevent tourists from a deeper comprehension of the host society. We use China’s outbound tourists in Malaysia as our case. Including Malaysia, destinations and businesses are catering to Chinese tourists by providing more conveniences and comforts to them. Tourism promotion agencies are adopting China’s social media platforms to disseminate relevant information. Consequently Chinese tourists may not have to use other platforms to communicate and interact with the world. Served with largely Chinese content and perspectives, host-guest appreciation may remain shallow, with few encounters that truly promote mutual respect and understanding to enhance a more socially sustainable tourism. This exploratory study looks at how Chinese tourists publicly review Malaysia on two top Chinese travel-sharing websites (i.e. and It is found that there is a conspicuous silence on the discriminatory policy against Malaysian Chinese in those reviews even though the manifestations of that policy is omnipresent. Thus, we discuss how a Chinese tourist wall is constructed, how tourist businesses are inadvertently strengthening that wall, and how the wall limits the attainment of social sustainability goals. In addition, we are also suggesting the importance of acknowledging silence in data analysis. This paper makes contributions to the tourism literature on Chinese tourists and the complexity of the host-guest relations with regard to social sustainability of tourism.

Item Type: Book Section
Authors/Creators:Long, F and Ooi, CS
Keywords: tourist bubble, Chinese outbound tourists, ethnic discrimination, Malaysia, social sustainability
Publisher: Springer
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Copyright 2022 The Author

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