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Ethnic Chinese who reside outside of mainland China proper constitute an enormous opportunity for tourism and economic development in China (Lew & Wong, 2003). Overseas Chinese have a strong sense of common origin, based on both racial and cultural grounds, which are further enhanced by business, social, and familial ties. These ties often take the form of existential tourism, which Cohen (1979) defined as travel back to a personal or spiritual “center” located away from one's home. This article presents the results of a content analysis of publications from Guangdong Province in China for ethnic Chinese residing outside of China. The content analysis results indicated that very strong existential tourism ties exist between Guangdong Province and the US and Canada in North America, and to adjacent Hong Kong and Macau. Examples of efforts to strengthen common origins included 56 articles on biographies of overseas Chinese individuals and 24 articles on overseas Chinese society and culture (out of 176 articles examined). Other major topics included efforts to build networks and investments, domestic news articles, donation story articles, education-related articles, investment-related articles, and articles on activities of local overseas Chinese Affairs Offices. Stories of rootfinding visits and the theme of “Love of -Country” were also prominent. These magazines indicated how local overseas Chinese Affairs Offices are proactive in strengthening ties with overseas Chinese through travel and tourism, upon which social and then business networks can be established.
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Keywords: China; Diaspora; Economic impacts; Ethnic networks; Existential tourism; Guangdong Province; Overseas Chinese; Social impacts

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: *Northern Arizona University 2: †The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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  • Tourism, Culture & Communication is international in its scope and will place no restrictions upon the range of cultural identities covered, other than the need to relate to tourism and hospitality. The Journal seeks to provide interdisciplinary perspectives in areas of interest that may branch away from traditionally recognized national and indigenous cultures, for example, cultural attitudes toward the management of tourists with disabilities, gender aspects of tourism, sport tourism, or age-specific tourism.
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