China’s Image Abroad- Tourism

Image                             Travel Brochures I used- Thomson and ‘Far East’ by Hayes & Jarvis

China is one of the greatest travel destinations in the world, and sells itself to potential tourists due to its historical landmarks and culture. A holiday to China is very different to a holiday to Europe. People are drawn to visit China because it’s so unique and mysterious and it has so much to offer. It’s very successful in trading and business but it’s also extremely successful in tourism because there are two sides of China to visit, there’s the ancient side of China- where tourists can learn all about the history and visit famous landmarks such as- The Great Wall of China, Terracotta Army, Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, etc. But there is also the modern side of China- such as Shanghai and Hong Kong. Hong Kong is where the business and commercial trade takes place but there is a great deal of entertainment for tourists and particularly westerners enjoy visiting here.

When looking through travel brochures and sites, I notice a lot of similar images, places and stereotypes used. The most common image is of ‘The Great Wall of China’ which is described as ‘an unforgettable journey’, with ‘breathtaking views’ and something that ‘photos simply can’t do justice’. Another popular place for tourists to visit is the Terracotta Army in Xian, where tourists can see thousands of warrior sculptures in the tomb of Emperor Qin.  Tourists are very interested in learning about the Emperors of China and so visiting the Terracotta Army offers an insight into the history of Emperor Qin and the army. Images of the terracotta army appear in travel brochures and websites and it’s described as a ‘must-see site’. The Forbidden City in Beijing is another tourist attraction as it served for 500 years as the home of emperors and the centre for Chinese Government. It is the worlds’ largest palace complex and covers 74 hectars. The Forbidden City is mentioned frequently on websites but less so in travel brochures.

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Although there all these fantastic historical places for tourists to visit, there is also the modern side of China which is very different. The shanghai skyline is an extremely popular image used on travel sites and brochures. It looks modern and futuristic due to its unusual architecture and skyscrapers and is described as having ‘glitzy bars’, ‘world class hotels’ and ‘elegant restaurants’. Entertainment in Shanghai is also very popular where tourists can have a taste of the Chinese Opera and acrobatic performances.

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Shanghai

Another modern city in China is Hong Kong which is a very vibrant and energetic place to visit. Hong Kong is where a lot of business takes place but tourists who visit Hong Kong get the opportunity to visit Disneyland and Ocean Park, which is probably more popular with families rather than couples or groups who are more interested in learning about the Chinese history. In one of the travel brochures it is described as a ‘vibrant metropolis where East meets West and ancient meets modern’ and is also known for having exceptional dining and over 11,000 restaurants. The Aberdeen Harbour is very popular and travel sites offer special deals where you can spend the evening enjoying food and drink whilst watching the city come alive at night time, ‘ sail through the harbour and watch the world’s greatest view turn into the world’s greatest light show’. It seems like there are two very different sides to China which both offer fantastic experiences but attract different types of tourists. Although China is evolving into a more modern country it still keeps its famous historical sites. There are cities that have outstanding modern architecture and other cities that have extremely old, traditional palaces and temples and this makes it a fantastic destination for tourists to learn and enjoy China’s history and culture.

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