The dynamics of guiding and interpreting in red tourism

Shengnan Zhao, Dallen Timothy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Despite the significance of tour guiding and interpreting in the tourism system, relevant research is lacking in both depth and breadth. Current scholarly work tends to ignore tour guides’ self-expectations and assumes they are altruistic mediators who carry out their tasks without question. Considering tourism intermediaries are rational individuals who attempt to maximize their own benefits, the purpose of this paper is to situate tour guiding and interpreting practices in a larger political and social context, to explore the external and intrapersonal factors that might influence the content and approaches of interpreting Chinese communist heritage. Design/methodology/approach: Considering tourism intermediaries are rational individuals who attempt to maximize their own benefits, this study situates tour guiding and interpreting practices in a larger political and social context, to explore the external and intrapersonal factors that might influence the content and approaches of interpreting Chinese communist heritage. Findings: The study reveals that institutional arrangements, environmental settings, characteristics of tourists and tourist-intermediary onsite interactions can have salient repercussions on intermediaries’ job skills, career attitudes and orientation, and self-perceived roles, and further shape their way of interpreting the past. Several managerial implications regarding enhancing the effectiveness of tour guiding and interpreting are also discussed. Originality/value: It is mentioned above. The Chinese government has invested enormously in red tourism to achieve a political end. In reality, however, there are always gaps between official narratives and actual interpretation. To lessen such deviation, efforts are needed to understand the dynamics of tour guiding practices. Anchoring interpretation and guiding practices in a broader political, social, and economic context, this paper attempts to improve the static research by comparing two major types of intermediaries, site interpreter and tour guide, with regard to the content of, and approach to their interpretation of red heritage. It provides an in-depth insight into the meaning-making process of the communist heritage tourism in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-259
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Tourism Cities
Volume3
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • China
  • Communist heritage
  • Interpretation
  • Red tourism
  • Site interpreter
  • Tour guide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The dynamics of guiding and interpreting in red tourism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this