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Cultural Sustainability and Heritage Tourism Development: Problems in Developing Bun Festival Tourism in Hong Kong

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Chew, Matthew M.
Journal: Journal of Sustainable Development
Volume: 2
Page(s): 34-42
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6729
Sector: Social Organization
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): tourism
Abstract: "This study contributes to the debate on tourism and local development through evaluating an ambivalent case of traditional festival revival and tourism development in Hong Kong: Bun Festival tourism in Cheung Chau Island. The significance of this case is that it will put into relief the significance of ‘cultural sustainability’-- an evaluative factor that is very insufficiently emphasized and theorized in current critical studies of tourism development. I will show although the most often mobilized critiques against heritage tourism development -- including cultural inauthenticity, commercialization, lack of local economic development, and local disempowerment -- can be applied to the case of the Bun Festival tourism, particular social circumstances weaken the force of these critiques in the Hong Kong case. Many local residents of the Cheung Chau Island approve the neoliberal direction of current tourist development and derive economic benefits from it. Even critical commentators in Hong Kong are not entirely against it. This study will point to evidence and arguments that uncover a serious and neglected problem in Bun Festival tourism: that neoliberal exploitation of heritage tourism resources threatens the cultural sustainability of historically rooted local practices of the Bun Festival and in turn threatens the viability of Bun Festival tourism in the long run."

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