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  • This file is part of the following reference:

    Chen, Tingzhen (2010) Asian tourism seasonality, with an emphasis on Chinas Golden Week system. PhD thesis,

    James Cook University.

    Access to this file is available from:

    http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/19000

    http://eprints.jcu.edu.au/19000

  • Asian tourism seasonality, with an emphasis on Chinas Golden Week system

    Thesis submitted by Tingzhen Chen

    Bachelor in Tourism Management (Hons)

    For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

    Tourism, School of Business

    James Cook University

    Townsville

    January 2010

  • vii

    Abstract

    Seasonality is a distinguishing characteristic of tourism, and it has economic

    importance thus attracting attention from the academic area as well as from the

    business and policy making domains. The aim of this thesis is to explore the

    seasonality phenomenon in Asian tourism, with a particular emphasis on residents

    and managers views of Chinas Golden Week system. The discussion on this topic

    starts with a review of key aspects of seasonality in the tourism context, including its

    definition, causes and impacts. Previous studies on seasonality conducted in the

    context of Western countries are initially considered. This work is followed by an

    introduction to seasonality in Asian studies, with a brief discussion of Japans Golden

    Week and a focus on Chinas Golden Week system which is the centre of this study.

    Based on the literature review, an opportunity exists to better understand seasonality

    in Asian tourism, particularly the residents and managers views of Chinas Golden

    Week system. Three studies are implemented to address these research opportunities.

    The first study was based on secondary data analysis and it was designed to

    characterise the seasonality phenomenon in Asian tourism. Secondary data of monthly

    tourist arrivals to five key Asian countries and four Chinese areas over a time period

    were selected to identify the seasonality patterns. By comparing the variances

    between monthly tourist arrivals and the average monthly tourist arrivals, six

    seasonality patterns were identified and named after six basic landforms the rolling

    hills, the plain, the single-peak mountain, the multi-peak mountain, the basin and the

    plateau. Applying this coding system to over 270 cases, it was found that extreme

  • viii

    seasonality patterns do not dominant Asian tourism, but multiple seasonality patterns

    exist and vary across Asian countries, even within one country (China).

    The second study was a quantitative study where a questionnaire survey was applied.

    The questionnaires were conducted in China over five locations to collect Chinese

    respondents (N=450) views of seasonality and Golden Week travelling. By assessing

    20 seasonality concerns identified from the literature, this study found that the

    crowding issue was the most powerful factor influencing tourists decisions on when

    to travel. The amount of rain and very high temperatures were also important

    influences. The Chinese respondents were least influenced by religious and cultural

    factors, special events and the amount of sunshine. According to their appraisal of

    their Golden Week travelling experiences, the Golden Week system was very popular

    for the Chinese residents as it provided them with seven days in which to undertake

    long-distance and more relaxed trips. This length of time also gave them the

    opportunity to enjoy nice weather, more activities, and chances to go travelling with

    families and friends. Nevertheless, some problems resulting from Golden Week

    system were identified, such as the crowding issue, higher prices and lower level of

    service. Most of the respondents noted these factors as likely issues reducing their

    satisfaction with Golden Weeks travel.

    The final study was approached by in-depth interviews. A form of discourse analysis

    was applied to present the interview results. This study sought specific views of

    seasonality and the Golden Week system from the Chinese tourism managers

    perspective. The interviewees were presented with the six seasonality patterns

    identified in the first study and asked about their perceptions. There was not a single

  • ix

    commonly accepted pattern as an ideal model for tourism businesses. The single-peak

    mountain pattern and the multi-peak mountain pattern were perceived as the most

    likely to occur in the hotel and catering area. The other patterns were identified as

    relatively infrequent in all business areas. Managers reactions to the Golden Week

    system revealed that this holiday system was very welcome by most of the tourism

    businesses although some management and environment problems were noted. All the

    managers were looking forward to a brighter future from Golden Week business.

    This thesis has attempted to provide a different format to identify tourism seasonality

    (the six-pattern coding system in the first study). Besides the findings mentioned

    above, this thesis has also addressed two literature gaps, one is the combination of 20

    seasonality concerns and the exploration of their influence on tourists travelling time

    period (discussed in the second study). A second contribution is a multi-regional view

    from tourist business managers establishing how these industry personnel view the

    Golden Weeks. A further contribution lies in converting perspectives gathered in

    Mandarin into the English academic tourism literature (discussed in the second and

    third study). This thesis also highlighted future areas for tourism seasonality study in

    other parts of the world where the seasonality phenomenon is not well researched. It

    has also pointed out the significance of research on the Chinese Golden Week market

    for tourism worldwide.

  • x

    Table of contents

    Statement of access .........................................................................................................i

    Statement of sources ......................................................................................................ii

    Statement of the contribution of others........................................................................ iii

    Declaration on Ethics....................................................................................................iv

    Acknowledgements........................................................................................................v

    Abstract ........................................................................................................................vii

    Table of contents............................................................................................................x

    Chapter outline..............................................................................................................xi

    List of tables.................................................................................................................xv

    List of figures........................................................................................................... xviii

  • xi

    Chapter outline

    Chapter 1 Introduction and literature review........................... 1

    1.1 Introduction: overview and significance of research ....................................1

    1.2 Review of literature........................................................................................4

    1.2.1 Introduction to tourism seasonality........................................................4

    1.2.2 Explanation of tourism seasonality........................................................4

    1.2.3 Japans Golden Week ..........................................................................14

    1.2.4 Chinas Golden Weeks ........................................................................15

    1.3 Gaps in the literature and opportunities for research .................................21

    1.4 Proposed research framework .....................................................................21

    1.5 Aims of this research....................................................................................22

    1.6 Methodological approaches and considerations .........................................23

    1.7 Outline of chapters: the three studies in the thesis ......................................25

    Chapter 2 Seasonality patterns in Asian tourism (Study 1) ... 27

    2.1 Introduction........................................................................................................27

    2.2 Research objectives............................................................................................29

    2.3 Data and methodology .......................................................................................29

    2.3.1 Secondary data .....................................................................................29

    2.3.2 Measures of seasonality .......................................................................31

    2.3.3 Modelling seasonality patterns ............................................................34

    2.3.4 Method details......................................................................................34

    2.4 Results and discussion .......................................................................................35

    2.4.1