Int. J. Tourism Anthropology, Vol. 1, No. 2, 2011
Department of Geography,
Western Michigan University,
1903 W. Michigan Avenue,
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5424, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Biographical notes: Li Yang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Western Michigan University. She has interests in tourism planning, cultural tourism, ethnic/indigenous tourism, and tourism analysis and forecasting. She has published papers in various international tourism journals including Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Current Issues in Tourism and Tourism Geographies.
Tourism is flourishing rapidly and has become one of the leading economic sectors in the world. It not only offers employment and economic opportunities but also becomes a powerful force to strengthen the identity of host populations and contributes to a broader cultural understanding by creating awareness, respecting the diversity of cultures and ways of life. Meanwhile, the enormous increase in domestic and international travel in recent decades has stimulated a strong interest in local and foreign culture and heritage. Cultural diversity has become a driving force of development, not only in respect of economic growth, but also as a means of leading a more fulfilling tourism experience. Cultural diversity provides a wide range of distinctive tourism products that provide diverse experiences through contact with new cultures. As demand for cultural tourism products increases, potential opportunities for economic development, local entrepreneurship and empowerment are created.