The Musts in Tourism Development

David Man

Culture and ecology (environment and resources) are not only the core values of today but are meaningful in the social development of China. The need for world vision and the concept of sustainable development must replace the old and outdated concepts for tourism. The Wuyi Mountains in Fujian, steeped in its own culture and renowned in its scenic beauty must bring to the visitors mental and physical enrichment to distinguish itself as a special UNESCO heritage site.

Tourism development can be a double-edged sword. While the emergence of theme parks such as Disneyland encourages our children to feed on American dreams, it has not diminished our desire to revisit the evolution of Man and to seek the roots of our DNA and culture in the existence of Mother Earth and the necessity of protecting her as our asset. ECOLOGY implies production, the living and livelihood whereas BRANDING implies taste, positioning and moral character.

To develop tourism as a pollution-free industry, countries around the world have spent countless hours thinking of their own value propositions: the Purity of the Swiss Alps, the Happiness Index of Bhutan, the “One Island, One Dream” of Mauritius, the authenticity of Nepal, or the Underwater World of the Philippines. The myriad outdoor, the coral ocean activities and the ecological culture have introduced us trendy terminologies such as “interactive”, “proactive”, “eco-friendly”, “integrated”, “blending”, “low carbon”, “biodiversity”, “genuine”, “playful”, “lifestyle”, “mindful”, “therapeutic”, “leisure” and “greeting”.

We must be prepared to update our perspective and accept the ideas of sustainability and, at its core, the twin concepts of cultural heritage and ecological development or be relegated to the primitive. These ecological activities, using advance technology and in close contact with Nature, are informative. They appeal to the senses and arouse in all the stakeholders the responsibilities of being civic citizens. It is a win-win situation for the tourists and the operators alike.

The strategy of combining cultural heritage with ecology has effected raising respect for variances and diversities, as well as respect for our earthly resources and thereby raising our awareness of environmental problems and development possibilities. In all respects, civic education is of prime importance.

About author

Mr. David Man, UNESCO HK Project Adviser