Chinese Geographical Science ›› 2006, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (3): 203-210.

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Globalization of Tourism and Third World Tourism Development——A Political Economy Perspective

ZHAO Weibing1, LI Xingqun2   

  1. 1. Tourism Management Area, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N1N4, Canada;
    2. Department of Tourism Management, School of Business, Guangxi University, Nanning 530004, China
  • Received:2005-12-20 Revised:2006-06-14 Online:2006-09-20 Published:2011-12-15


Globalization, which is characterized by the escalating mobility of capital, people, ideas and information on a universal scale, has become a sweeping theme in the contemporary world. Tourism and its associated economic activities are evidently not immune to such a wider context of the world economy. In the past one or two decades, a stable increase has been witnessed in international tourist flows, inter-regional and inter-organizational alliances, and foreign direct investment. These trends are especially prevalent in the developing world, largely because of their pristine nature, diverse culture, inexpensive goods and services, cheap labours, and other resources. However, it has been cautioned by some scholars, especially those from the Third World countries, that tourism is an industry run by and for the rich, more powerful nations and their corresponding multinational corporations. This article, from the perspective of political economy, supplemented with views from development studies, made a normative analysis on the impacts of the globalization of tourism on the Third World destination countries. Specifically, these impacts have been detailed in terms of economic, sociocultural, and ecological domains. It was demonstrated that without appropriate planning and management, the costs of Third World tourism development may accrue to the extent that its benefits are burned out. To avoid this happening, some suggestions have been made.

Key words: globalization, political economy, tourism development, Third World