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Recapturing the soul of tourism

(People's Daily Online)

08:12, October 11, 2012

With the declining Engel’s coefficient, the cultural consumption is increasingly becoming the important content of consumption. The travel boom during the Mid-Autumn and National Day holidays again confirmed it.

It is estimated that the amount of China’s tourist consumption reached about 2.9 trillion yuan in 2011, equivalent to 6 percent of the GDP, and the amount is still increasing rapidly. Therefore, economists consider tourism a promising sunrise industry.

Someone joked that the so-called travel is to leave one’s familiar places and visit other’s familiar places, which refers to the phenomenon of taking travel as sightseeing in different places. In fact, going travel does not simply mean pursuing fashion and widen vision. It is a kind of social experience, dynamic learning, toughening of the mind and body and alleviation of mood. Furthermore, it is a process of expanding and enhancing cognition and understanding and perceiving society and life, and especially has advantages and charm in increasing knowledge and widening vision.

The ancient people not only mentioned “traveling a thousand miles” and “reading a thousand books” in the same breath but also regarded them as the inevitable course of perfecting personality and making progress. Both the philosophers of pre-Qin dynasty and those from Sima Qian to Gu Yanwu had the same points of view, let alone Xu Xiake and Li Daoyuan. To ordinary being, it is also a road enriching the spiritual life of people. Going travel can widen the life path and give it new social meaning and sprit of the time, making it socialized, popular, industrialized and fashionable.

Under these circumstances, special efforts should made to explore cultural connotation and humanism of tourism, bring culture back to tourism, have culture conveyed and highlighted in tourism, and activate the cultural and civilized elements of tourism. By doing so, the soul of tourism can be so enriched with cultural nourishment and spirit infiltration that it will be helpful for people to learn and think. In this way, tourists can combine relaxations and joys with learning and thinking, edifying themselves while broadening their horizons, and improving their mind while visiting historical relics. Places abundant in cultural resources can better exploit the potential and attractions of tourism in order to attract and inspire more visitors, and improve their characters.

Once tourism goes stray from culture, rids itself of cultural elements or the cultural contents are diluted, it will be stuck in vulgarity and shallowness, and hinder the development of tourism. Some tourist cities and spots are so excessively commercialized that the peddler cries and noises put you in no mood for the enjoyment of cultural flavors and historical echoes of ancient buildings. Furthermore, in some places, historical and natural relics are on the decline, while at the other end of the scale are the gradual emergence of artificial scenes and antiques that block the view of real scenes and mislead and stain people with false information and historical relics. The commonplace vulgarity and entertainment in hot spots, coupled with unqualified guides, deprive tourism of culture elements and replace with shallowness, kitsch and profit pursuits.

Culture is the core of tourism. Recapturing the culture as the soul provides the right gateway to the development of tourism, and the build-up of spiritual home and social civilization.

Read the Chinese version: 文化乃旅游之“芯”(人民论坛)
Source:People's Daily Edition , author: Ai Fei.

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