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Tourism Development: Protection versus Exploitation - A Case Study of the Change in the Lives of the Mosuo People, Journal of GMS Development Studies, Vol. 3, pp. 41-55

dc.contributor.authorWen Zhang
dc.description.abstractA case study is presented of tourism development and cultural change in a minority ethnic community, the Mosuo people of Luoshui Village, a 73-household village in Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China. The study first describes the natural attractions of the area, the Mosuo matrilineal family tradition based on “axia” relationships, and development of tourism from its beginnings in the late 1980s. Annual visitor arrivals increased from about 6,000 in 1989 to 350,000 in 2003. The collective and individual tourism operations are described. The village economy has changed from an agricultural to a tourism base, with average farmer per capita incomes tripling during 1992–1996 alone. A survey of residents and tourists showed that tourism is well accepted by villagers and while greatly impacting on local life and values, has not affected religious beliefs to a similar extent; tourists come primarily to observe local customs as well as the natural beauty of the location. The study also points out negative impacts of tourism on the culture—decline of the matrilineal family, changes in dress and staple foods, and alterations to houses—and the environment, such as proliferation of garbage and wastewater, increasing use of wood for house building, and pollution of the adjacent lake. In conclusion, the paper summarizes the lessons learned from tourism development in the village: it has aroused ethnic pride and promoted economic growth, but has inevitably caused acculturation, indicating a need to protect unique elements of the culture while acknowledging its evolving nature. For the long term, there is a need to control the number of visitors to limit environmental impacts, and to restrict large investments from outside in order to keep economic benefits localized.
dc.publisherAsian Development Bank
dc.rightsCC BY 3.0 IGO
dc.titleTourism Development: Protection versus Exploitation - A Case Study of the Change in the Lives of the Mosuo People, Journal of GMS Development Studies, Vol. 3, pp. 41-55
dc.subject.adbTourism Development
dc.subject.adbTourism Industry
dc.subject.adbRural Development
dc.subject.adbEconomic Development
dc.title.seriesJournal of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Studies
dc.contributor.imprintAsian Development Bank
oar.authorZhang, Wen

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  • Journal of Greater Mekong Subregion Development Studies
    This journal is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed publication that seeks to promote better understanding of a broad range of development issues in the Greater Mekong Subregion. One volume is published each year by the Asian Development Bank under the framework of the Phnom Penh Plan for Development Management, a region-wide capacity building program that supports knowledge products and services.

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