Phase 1: Posing Real Questions
What do I know about the topic?
I know that tourism dependency is a major or minor part of a country or city, depending on how developed and how known it is. Tourism dependency, first and foremost, is the impact of tourism on a city's economy, or how much a city needs tourism to help its economy, people, etc. I know, or at least I think I know, about the effect of tourism in a populated and developed city like Shanghai, such as boosting the economy. I know that a few causes of this are how intrigued people are to see a city from an "exotic" country like China, the buildings and monuments in the city, and the people themselves. Furthermore, I think I know that tourism sustainability could benefit people from cities in LEDCs, especially since some countries depend on foreigners or tourists to help earn money.
Where did I learn this information?
I learned most of my information from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from Model United Nations. The past research I have done for the topics that were discussed help expand my knowledge upon how an economy works and how tourism relates to it. Otherwise, I picked up some information here and there as I work. Being a tourist myself sometimes, I have traveled to many places, looking at the various and diverse communities. Through this, I believe that I have a wide understanding of the general concept of tourism.
What do I want to know?
Although this, I would like to understand not just on the side of the tourist and tourism organizations, on the side of the vendors and more information on the type of tourists and tourism itself. As a goal, I would want to get as many perspectives as possible onto the idea of tourism and the effects in the lives of the people in the community. In Shanghai, it is pretty simple to understand how easily tourists can affect a vendor's life and how vendors produce trinkets and souvenirs to attract customers. In some places, people follow tourists, convincing them to buy their product. In others, people crowded around tourism shops, browsing to buy a shirt or a keychain. I would like to understand the perspective of the vendors, how they react to the idea of tourism and whether they need it. Furthermore, if I am lucky enough to see tourists in the city, I would also like to get to know the perspective of the tourists too. I would like to understand why tourists would visit a city like Xizhou and their perspective on it.
To learn more about the general knowledge of tourism and specifically, tourism in Xizhou, I have done some background research on the topic. The section of which I wrote this can be found in Phase 3.
Below is a list of 10 "big" questions, which are to help guide my learning and research process along during my stay at Xizhou. I believe that these questions will help in solving my most basic question as I am researching which is: Is tourism common? I have not found a simple answer to this question yet. Possible answer(s) to these 10 questions are italicized, though there are may be more than one answer to these questions as it is from various perspectives and goes through the variable of whether tourism is common. These 10 questions are also grouped into sections depending on their correlation with the topic based on basic knowledge and my research was done in the background information in Phase 3. See Phase 3 for further and real answer to these questions, though questions 3 and 7 became irrelavant to my topic:
Basics of Tourism in Xizhou
1. What types of tourists visit Xizhou?
Other than the students that come from SAS, there are various travelers that come by as they are visitng Dali and Lake Erhai. Various tourists can include college students traveling in groups and foreigners visiting Yunnan.
2. What do tourists often visit and buy in Xizhou?
Whether there are few or loads of tourists that visit Xizhou, tourists often buy artwork, souveniors, silk, and others. Tourists often visit Xizhou while visitng Lake Erhai, possibly Dali, or just visitng Xizhou for its culture.
Tourists that visit Xizhou often visit around the area for the scenery that Yunnan is known for. Tourist often buys small knick-knacks from various shops, but as tourists are not common, what tourists buy the most isn't really defined.
Relationship between XIzhou and Tourism
3. How do vendors interact and work with tourists?
Even though tourists may pass Xizhou, the workers do not change or adapt their work environment or raise the prices in their stores to earn more money and income. Vendors are welcoming to all customers that they can sell to, whether the customers are from the area or not. Although, tourists may be harder to communicate with as there is a language barrier.
4, What does the host community think of tourists visitng their area?
Citizens of Xizhou are welcoming to the tourists that visit their area, possibly thinking that tourists help their businesses. CItizens in Xizhou often are welcoming to tourists, though there may be a language barrier between the citizens and tourists.
Although the citizens may be welcoming to the tourists, some citizens believe that tourists often harm their environment and the culture of their community.
5. How do tourists affect your work and job? (Various Perspectives)
My job as a vendor heavily depends on the people that come visit Xizhou, as that is where my extra income to provide for my family comes from. Although my job is dependent on tourism, people that are from Xizhou still buy my products, lessening the need for tourists to come to Xizhou.
My job as a vendor depends on all sorts of people, whether there are tourists or not. Tourists do not really impact my work as tourists do not often come to Xizhou. Xizhou is a more localized community, so there is no need for tourists to buy products from my store.
For the community:
Tourism is not something that is highly common in the village or is anything highly significant to the community. Tourists rarely come to Xizhou, and its impact to my job is not much as my job does not work with tourists as much.
6. What are the main types of customers? If your customers include tourists, how would you describe these tourists?
The main types of customers that come to my shop are people from Xizhou, students from Microcampus, people on vacation, and possibly foreigners. These tourists are often quite nice to the people and vendors in Xizhou, though they are commonly either foreigners from places like Europe or people that live near Yunnan Province.
7. What priority do the vendors put Lake Erhai compared to the significance of tourism? (See Phase 3 for further information on the damage to Lake Erhai)
Xizhou should prioritize Lake Erhai over tourism for the benefit of the welllbeing of people in Xizhou. Furthermore, Lake Erhai is an important addition and monument in Yunnan. It should not be comprimised for the sake of building more restaurants, buildings, and hotels.
Additional buildings that lack the government permit does not neccessarily cause the additional waste in Lake Erhai. Some key and significant buildings were shut down because of the supposed damage to Lake Erhai, which takes away income from people. The significance of tourism is highly needed in Xizhou as it helps and brings income to the people of Xizhou. Risking the jobs and lives of people in Yunnan should not be less prioritized than the supposed damage to Lake Erhai put from businesses.
8. How do the tourists treat the citizens and community of Xizhou environmentally and socially?
The tourists that visit Xizhou treat the citizens respectively and buy their products. They do not litter or do anything of the such, but the existence of more people in Xizhou have caused the amount of waste made in Xizhou to increase.
9. How has tourism affected Xizhou's culture?
Tourism has no impact on Xizhou's culture, rather it helps in cultivating and deepening the culture through the experience of looking at the culture as an outsider. The culture of Xizhou has not changed through tourism.
Tourism has caused Xizhou to change and alter their culture bit by bit to help adapt to the culture of the tourists and to help the tourists understand their culture better.
10. How has citizens living in Xizhou changed because of the idea of tourists?
The lives of the citizens living in Xizhou have changed because of the ideas and experiences shared between tourists and themselves. For example, the types of tie-dye clothes that they sell are no longer simply black-and-white, rather there is various colors now.
After inquiring on my topic and doing background research, I have come to the conclusion that to help guide and utilize my time at Xizhou effectively, I have to learn more about the tourists themselves in Xizhou and their motives to visit Xizhou. Furthermore, I believe that I have to learn more about the connection between the dependency and sustainability in the tourism industry and Xizhou. Next, I will be finding resources and people to help me improve my work in Phase 2.