Conference Paper

Shopping tourism and conflict in contested urban space

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Abstract

This article maintains that new middle class tourists (especially those consumption-driven, urban dwellers from emerging economies) have acquired a taste for shopping tourism and quickly become the majority of the inbound visitors who bring business niches to the post-industrial, host societies. It is argued that under this trend, scant scholarly attention has been paid to the corresponding reactions, confusions, and concerns in the host societies. This article thereby offers a critical reflection on the manifestation of ‘unwelcome shopping tourism’ as well as its local resistance and conflict in the context of changing consumption milieu contributed by the growth of Chinese tourists worldwide. In this article, the authors discuss and challenge the neoliberal presupposition guiding much of today’s shopping tourism agenda that tends to maximize short-term business interests at the expense of local consumers’ mundane lifestyles and native cultural identities. They thus propose a typology of conflicts pertaining to the growing tensions between local residents and shopping tourists, which should inform issues regarding local residents’ political consumptions and sustainable tourism development in global cities.

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