ArticlePDF Available

Developing a tourism region through tourism and culture: bordering, branding, placemaking and governance processes

  • Edinburgh Napier University - The Business School


China's pre-pandemic national-level planning advocated a combination of culture and tourism to advance growth in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) mega-region. Culture is seen as increasing regional cohesion, with multi-destination travel products connecting subregions and cities. This paper examines perceptions of progress towards a coherent GBA cultural identity and its implications for tourism. We examine tourism stakeholder perceptions of the GBA, assess the prospects for the development of collective identities in the region and assess the prospects for implementation of the GBA brand. Surveys and interviews with stakeholders indicate that the prevalent top-down planning approach has so far generated limited regional coherence and may also be limiting bottom-up placemaking initiatives. Debordering between Hong Kong, Macao and the mainland cities offers opportunities for tourism development, but these have so far been limited, also because of intensifying competition between mainland GBA cities in international markets, challenging the implementation of an umbrella brand. Regional stakeholders so far show little buy-in to the overarching 'quality living circle' concept for the GBA. New governance structures may be to support the development of a coherent regional identity and generate place leadership to successfully combine top-down and bottom-up placemaking initiatives. ARTICLE HISTORY
Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
Tourism Recreation Research
ISSN: (Print) (Online) Journal homepage:
Developing a tourism region through tourism and
culture: bordering, branding, placemaking and
governance processes
Brian King, Greg Richards & Angela Mai Chi Chu
To cite this article: Brian King, Greg Richards & Angela Mai Chi Chu (2023): Developing
a tourism region through tourism and culture: bordering, branding, placemaking and
governance processes, Tourism Recreation Research, DOI: 10.1080/02508281.2023.2207156
To link to this article:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa
UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis
Published online: 16 May 2023.
Submit your article to this journal
View related articles
View Crossmark data
Developing a tourism region through tourism and culture: bordering, branding,
placemaking and governance processes
Brian King
, Greg Richards
and Angela Mai Chi Chu
Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA;
Academy for Leisure, Breda University of Applied
Sciences, Breda, The Netherlands;
Tourism & Languages Subject Group, The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland, UK
Chinas pre-pandemic national-level planning advocated a combination of culture and tourism to
advance growth in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) mega-region. Culture is seen as increasing regional
cohesion, with multi-destination travel products connecting subregions and cities. This paper
examines perceptions of progress towards a coherent GBA cultural identity and its implications
for tourism. We examine tourism stakeholder perceptions of the GBA, assess the prospects for
the development of collective identities in the region and assess the prospects for
implementation of the GBA brand. Surveys and interviews with stakeholders indicate that the
prevalent top-down planning approach has so far generated limited regional coherence and
may also be limiting bottom-up placemaking initiatives. Debordering between Hong Kong,
Macao and the mainland cities oers opportunities for tourism development, but these have so
far been limited, also because of intensifying competition between mainland GBA cities in
international markets, challenging the implementation of an umbrella brand. Regional
stakeholders so far show little buy-in to the overarching quality living circleconcept for the
GBA. New governance structures may be to support the development of a coherent regional
identity and generate place leadership to successfully combine top-down and bottom-up
placemaking initiatives.
Received 23 January 2023
Accepted 17 April 2023
Greater Bay Area;
placemaking; debordering;
tourism product
development; regional
branding; destination
Cities and regions have increasingly adopted placemak-
ing strategies to create coherent destination images and
positioning. This paper considers the application of
these concepts in Chinas Greater Bay Area (GBA) a
new megacity regionwith aspirations of global promi-
nence (Hui et al., 2020). The GBA region is being devel-
oped through de-bordering and re-bordering
processes, with the integration of former colonies
Hong Kong and Macao into mainland China. This
creates the challenge of developing a new destination
brand for the GBA region, which must also be given
meaning for internal and external audiences through
placemaking processes. As noted by Chen (2022,
p. 86): The rapid development of such a huge megalo-
polis that attracts attention globally is worth
The Pearl River Delta (PRD) area in Chinas south has
been a focus of government economic policymaking
since the opening upof the country started in 1978.
The recent Greater Bay Area(GBA) plan extended the
PRD concept by incorporating the two special adminis-
trative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macao into
the economic integration process, strengthening
regional economic and education links and promoting
culture and tourism as drivers of regional coherence.
The GBA initiative envisages an integrated economic
and cultural region of more than 70 million inhabitants
drawing on international bay areasettings such as
San Francisco, New York and Tokyo. It will capitalise on
Hong Kongs positioning as a global business hub con-
necting mainland China with the Belt and Road Initiative
(BRI). Macao, a former Portuguese colony, also contrib-
utes to the BRI, by making global connections
between Lusophone-speaking nations (Greater Bay
Area - Hong Kong, 2017). The GBA partners nine Guang-
dong cities with Hong Kong and Macao in pursuit of
mutual benets and improve all peoples well-being
and living standards; a high-level social civilization; and
increased international competitiveness and inuence,
strengthening soft power of Chinese culture and
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted
Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.
CONTACT Greg Richards Academy for Leisure, Breda University of Applied Sciences, Monseigneur Hopmansstraat 2, 4817 JS Breda,
The Netherlands
deepening cultural exchange and integration(Li et al.,
2021, p. 3). Central Government aims to create a globally
competitive business environment by accelerating
market integration. In their evaluation of GBA govern-
ance, Meulbroek et al. (2022, p. 12) have noted a tacit
invitation to local and regional governments, the SARs
and businesses to marshal the resources and capacities
of a multi-polar region-in-waiting in the service of a
nationally initiated and tendentially mainland-centric
The top-down GBA plan is economically-focused, and
supported by advanced infrastructure and region-wide
transportation networks such as Express Rail, bridges,
and boundary control points. However, the GBA also
seeks to promote social integration and to improve the
quality of life in terms of education, healthcare, social
wellbeing, housing, and environmental protection.
Tourism can potentially help advance The creation of a
quality living circlewithin the GBA providing an ideal
place for living, working and travelling .. (which)
involves the development and enhancement of new
and existing lifestyle facilities around sports and recrea-
tion, arts and culture, tourism and hospitality.(KPMG,
2018). The GBA tourism and culture initiative is a large-
scale experiment, which parallels the European Union
de-bordering experience (Stoelen & Vanneste, 2017)
and has signicant governance implications. Achieving
such aims requires not just a new regional brand, but
also the shaping of a new regional reality through place-
making, which can be summarised as a process of turning
the regional space into a public place which has meaning
for all stakeholders (Dupre, 2019).
This study analyses the role of placemaking in creat-
ing regional coherence following debordering between
Hong Kong and Macao and the mainland GBA cities,
and the rebordering of the GBA as a new region. The
primary objectives are to: (1) identify tourism stake-
holder perceptions of the current status of the GBA, (2)
to assess prospects for creating meaningful collective
identities applicable to residents, visitors, and mobile
populations and (3) address city-level implementation
by identifying how GBA coherence is strengthened
through brand building and by cultural development.
This research makes a contribution to the study of the
processes of tourism region building in the new
context of the GBA in China, and highlights the need
to combine branding and placemaking initiatives in
such programmes.
The following literature review considers region-wide
planning, placemaking and (de)bordering processes
(Timothy et al., 2016). The authors then evaluate pro-
gress across the GBA towards a coherent region-wide
sense of place.
Literature review
The Greater Bay Area (GBA) comprises nine municipali-
ties across Chinas Guangdong province. Inclusion of
the two SARs lends support to the Chinese govern-
ments pre-pandemic going globalstrategy (Greater
Bay Area - Hong Kong, 2020). Researchers have investi-
gated governance of the two SARs within the GBA
context (Wan, 2013), and border issues between Hong
Kong and mainland China (Graddol & Danielewicz-Betz,
2015; Liu & Shi, 2021; Shen, 2003; Yang, 2006). Tourism
has also been analyzed through themes such as urban
networks (Zhao et al., 2019), city competitiveness
(Kaijun, 2016; Yang & Yu, 2020; Zheng et al., 2016), des-
tination branding (Kirillova et al., 2020), destination
attractiveness (Chan & Shek, 2021; Hong, Ngan, Yu, &
Zhou, 2022), product development (Bi & Tian, 2020),
spatial structure (Hui et al., 2020), and infrastructure
(Zheng et al., 2016). Recent studies have also highlighted
tourism governance (Park et al., 2022) and cultural prac-
tices (Luo & Huang, 2023). Ong and Liu (2022) high-
lighted urbanization in Hengqin, a borderland sub-
component of Zhuhai where governance is shared
with Macao. Though GBA related research is growing,
the role of culture in tourism development and regional
attractiveness has not been addressed. The following
section considers the literature on governance and
(de)bordering processes, place leadership and place-
making, particularly emphasising GBA related studies.
Governance and bordering processes
As former British and Portuguese colonies respectively,
Hong Kong and Macao were designated Special Admin-
istration Regions(SARs) on their return to China in 1997
and 1999. Since handover, they have formed part of the
One-Country Two-Systemsarrangement. Hong Kong
has sought to retain its distinct identity and strengths
as an international business, nancial, shopping and avia-
tion centre(Hong Kong Government Information Centre,
2021). The integration of the SARs is critical to GBA
development, transforming the mainland borders from
international to intra-national (Graddol & Danielewicz-
Betz, 2015), thereby fostering political, socio-economic,
taxation, mobility, legislative, and linguistic integration.
However, Chen (2022, p. 98) argues that future coordi-
nated development across borders will be constrained
by the dierent administrative system, ideologies and
culture prevalent across the GBA cities.
Gao et al. (2019) argue that China should be under-
stood through its borders, and Huang et al. (2022)
note border research has shifted towards regional and
local boundaries from the previous national border
focus. Though borders are typically created by insti-
tutions and policy makers, individual actors are also
active in devising strategies to respond to and negotiate
border constraints (Zhao et al., 2019). Bordering is there-
fore a negotiated process, and as evidenced by the GBA
case, which includes both the bordering processes of
creating new regional borders, as well as a de-bordering
process linking the two SARS and the mainland cities.
Creating the GBA may be viewed as a symbolic
process where local authorities (or entrepreneurs) inten-
tionally emphasise the boundary and the dierences
between countries to enhance its tourist appeal(Zhou
et al., 2018). Bordering processes involve more than
simply drawing lines the enclosing and dierentiation
of space creates a new reality, externally projected
through place branding, and experienced internally
through placemaking processes.
Referring to debordering between the PRD and Hong
Kong, Shen (2003) argued that cooperation has been
bottom-upand a consequence of post-handover
demographic and cultural ties, rather than direction by
mainland authorities. Nevertheless, the reform and
open-doorpolicy was critical for stimulating the move-
ment of people and goods between the mainland and
Hong Kong. Yang (2006) reported that the borderlands
became a co-existentand highly interdependent
space, with Hong Kong making large-scale manufactur-
ing investments in the GBA. Critically for tourism, inte-
gration of the borderland contributed to an
acceleration of Mainland Chinese arrivals into Hong
Kong from 2.38 million in 1997 (Hong Kong 2003
Travel and Tourism,2003) to 43.8 million in 2019
(HKTB, 2020). The debordering process has also stimu-
lated regional mobilities and integration (Więckowski &
Timothy, 2021), and the GBA boundary may now be con-
sidered domestic or supranational rather than inter-
national. This distinguishes the GBA from longer
established Asian growth triangleswhich have lever-
aged resources and attracted investors across inter-
national borders (Henderson, 2001).
As a result of de-bordering, infrastructural develop-
ments are improving GBA connectivity, notably
through high-speed rail and cross-boundary bridges
(Choi, 2021). The worlds longest bridge-tunnel system
the iconic Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB)
(Han, 2018)includes articial islands, which now
feature as attractions in tour packages combining
border features, bridge-viewing, shopping, and dining
areas (China Highlights, 2021). This will arguably create
adual circulationpattern between the GBA and China
(Kan, 2022), extending to both inbound and outbound
tourism. Despite the progress towards integration,
many respondents in Chois(2021) survey of Hong
Kong businesses were vague about the meaning and
scope of the GBA. Others viewed the region as focused
exclusively on integration between the two SARs and
the mainland. A further 40.6% anticipated that the
GBA would not impact on their businesses, indicative
of a gap between ocial aspirations and local stake-
holder perceptions.
Internal fragmentation of the region is also evident
from the diering roles assigned to each city in GBA
planning. Hong Kong is positioned as an international
hub for nance, professional services, transportation,
trade, and aviation (Greater Bay Area Hong Kong,
2020), with Macao functioning as a global centre for
tourism and leisure. Li et al. (2022) noted that the
diverse resources, capacities, and priorities of the
various GBA cities are a challenge to top-down central
This indicates that (de)bordering processes may com-
plicate destination branding. A brand story is needed for
tourists to build experiences around a unique regional
identity that can provide lasting competitive advantage.
The brand is an outcome of multi-stakeholder collabora-
tive decision-making (Prideaux & Cooper, 2002), invol-
ving both tangible and intangible aspects: The place
product is a unique combination of building, facilities,
and venues which represent a multiplicity of auton-
omous service businesses, both public and private(Han-
kinson, 2009, p. 98). A partnership approach is necessary,
but this presents many challenges for destination mar-
keting organizations (DMOs), who often struggle to exer-
cise management control, and destination identities
often remain under-developed. Destination branding
also faces the challenge of authenticity: what sells and
has success is the brand that is honest, and valuable in
itself(Hornskov, 2014). According to Gilmore (2002) des-
tination branding should therefore reect an authentic
reality, rather than a projection. Linking the GBA regional
brand to an authentic local reality and engaging a range
of stakeholders might arguably be achieved more eec-
tively through placemaking rather than through tra-
ditional destination branding. Placemaking goes
beyond the intangible brand to include physical, social
and cultural elements as well. This is important to
enable the individual destinations in the GBA to estab-
lish distinctive identities within the GBA umbrella. By
emphasising placemaking, the current study extends
the theoretical contribution of Kirillova et al.s(2020)
GBA study which consolidated the coopetition and
cross-border marketing concepts in light of stakeholder
perceptions, thereby underpinning the uniqueness of
member cities united under a common brand.
Placemaking and place leadership
An extensive review of the placemaking literature
related to urban development and tourism by Dupre
(2019) identies placemaking as a process of creating
place meanings or sense of place through identities
and images associated with local communities.
Palermo and Ponzini (2015) have dened placemaking
broadly as the process of making better places. Lew
(2017) emphasises that placemaking can be achieved
either through bottom-up, organic and incremental pro-
cesses, or through top-down, master planned
approaches. He argues that organic placemaking can
support local culture more eectively than top-down
programmes, which often struggle to link to local stake-
holders. Placemaking can facilitate holistic destination
development by enhancing attractive place qualities
for both residents and visitors and link cultural,
tourism and other stakeholders through a coherent
place narrative. It is increasingly viewed as an eective
strategy for the development of tourism markets
(Hultman & Hall, 2012; Priatmoko et al., 2021). Richards
(2020) operationalised this concept in the tourism
context by identifying resources, meanings, and creativ-
ity as the core elements of placemaking, with all three
necessary to make better places for tourism. Richards
(2020, p. 7) conceptualised resources as the network
linking space of ows and space of places to harness
resources, tangible and intangible. Tangible resources
include destination hardware, such as heritage build-
ings, natural resources, and facilities, whereas intangible
resources or softwareinclude language, knowledge,
and skills. Creativity gives meaning to resources by
enabling stakeholders to identify with them, and creativ-
ity is also a catalyst for making things happen. Insti-
tutional creativity includes the development of
structures to facilitate action, including governance. In
the case of the GBA, Chen (2022) views the development
of the new region as a process of making meaning,
reecting the analysis of placemaking by Dupre (2019).
Richardsholistic view of placemaking envisages a
blend of the top-down and bottom-up approaches
identied by Lew (2017), with multiple stakeholders par-
ticipating in the formation of meanings. Razali and Ismail
(2014) also emphasise the need for a balanced or a har-
monious relationship between tourists, local commu-
nities, and organizations and businesses that provide
tourism servicesin tourism destination development.
The GBA programme approaches regional development,
branding and placemaking from a predominantly top-
down perspective, aiming to reach across (formal)
borders to unite previously divided territories. Więck-
owski and Timothys(2021) work on (de)bordering in
the European Union (EU) has potential lessons for the
GBA. The EU used placemaking strategies to promote
regional and cross-border cohesion. Whereas earlier
European programmes promoted cohesion through
economic measures such as scal integration and free
movement of labour, later measures stimulated cultural
and social identication. A notable example is the
Øresund Region encompassing Copenhagen in
Denmark and Malmo in Sweden. The new economic
dynamics of bridging the Peberholm Strait and connect-
ing the two cities raised questions about regional place-
making and local attachments for the new region and its
identity (Hospers, 2006). Stoelen and Vanneste (2017)
observed that tourism de-bordering within Europe has
relied on informal networks that build capacity and
trust, as well as developing thickinstitutional relations.
Though there is a parallel GBA de-bordering process, the
prevalent placemaking approach remains one of top-
down master planning, as Lew (2017) suggests. Whilst
the authorities seek meaning for those who live, work,
study in and visit the region, we can question whether
the formation of a coherent regional brand supported
by all stakeholders is achievable in a top-down fashion.
Branding the GBA as a new destination
The GBA seeks to develop a Cultured Bay Areaand to
expand regional cooperation through education,
culture, tourism, and social security (Greater Bay Area -
Hong Kong, 2019). In line with the placemaking
concept as a means of improving the quality of life for
all(Richards & Duif, 2019), the Outline Development
Plan for the GBA (Greater Bay Area - Hong Kong, 2019)
seeks to enhance the quality of living, working, and tra-
velingby: (1) developing education and talent hubs; (2)
developing a Cultured Bay Areato promote cultural
and creative industries; (3) stimulating leisure travel in
the GBA; (4) expanding employment and entrepreneur-
ship; (5) shaping a Healthy Bay Areathrough
cooperation in medical and healthcare services and; (6)
cooperation in social security and social governance to
encourage Hong Kong and Macao residents to work,
live and retire in the GBA. The development of the 9+
2GBA cities includes developing a coherent identity
around the unique positioning of the two SARs. The
GBA brand is based on going global together, welcom-
ing the two SARs into the motherland, with tourism as a
critical placemaking element, and intra-GBA travel sti-
mulating shared cultural identities. However, the coher-
ence of the current regional brand is questionable. Lei
et al. (2022) found that traveler perceptions of the
various constituent GBA cities vary in terms of
gastronomy, hotels, integrated metro transport net-
works and photo-taking opportunities. Lu et al. (2017)
concluded that though all GBA cities are actively brand-
ing themselves to attract tourism and investment, Hong
Kong, Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen exhibited more
sophisticated brand development. They noted potential
conicts between stakeholders, which questions the
achievability of a unied brand.
Cultural assets across the GBA
Some of the 9+2GBA cities (see Figure 1) have used
cultural developments to progress the meaning aspect
of placemaking. Shenzhen and Foshan, for example,
have implemented cultural governancestrategies,
including constructing and/or renovating cultural
spaces, organising large public events, and promoting
cultural tourism (Luo & Huang, 2023). The wider region
possesses two UNESCO world heritage sites which evi-
dence tangible heritage Kaiping Diaolou and Village
in Jiangmen and the Historic Centre of Macao (Huang
& Liu, 2023). UNESCO Intangible Heritage is epitomised
by Yueju Opera and the Dragon Boat Festival. The
Chinese Government has also recognised Lingnan heri-
tage, Cantonese cuisine, Cantonese dialect, and Martial
arts as intangible cultural attributes. Guangdong Pro-
vince has 589 cultural assets linked to particular cities,
notably the Puzhai Fire Dragon which is associated
with Fengshun city (Chinese Cultural Studies Centre,
The two SARs have emphasised tangible over intangi-
ble heritage, although Macao secured designation as a
UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The Hong Kong auth-
orities are progressing the culture and tourism
connection with iconic developments such as West
Kowloon Cultural District. The Hong Kong Government
established a Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau in
2022, a response to the national 14th ve-year plan,
which envisages the city as an East-meets-West centre
for international cultural exchange(Hong Kong SAR,
There is a prospect of developing GBA-wide tourism
products through qualityinitiatives which strengthen
local awareness of what Guangzhou, Macao and Hong
Kong oer. Enhanced intra-GBA infrastructure has
strengthened physical links thereby improving mobili-
ties. A Culture and Tourism Development Plan for the
GBA was also adopted in late 2020. Tourism potentially
extends regional integration by bringing together
people from across the region and strengthening inter-
national exposure. However, the top-down planning
approach compounds the challenges of developing a
unied and coherent GBA regional image and identity
that resonates with all relevant actors.
To examine the opinions of stakeholders about the
prospects for coherent GBA placemaking, we conducted
quantitative and qualitative research, as outlined in the
following section.
We adopt a mixed-methods research approach to
accommodate the complexity and dynamism of the
study setting. The single region focus is considered
appropriate because the GBA is globally signicant at a
time when global political tensions have shaken inter-
actions between the US and China. It is timely to assem-
ble the combined ndings of various ocial documents,
Figure 1. The GBA cities. Source:
the relevant scholarly literature and the perspectives of
tourism related respondents who have advanced
insights into progress of the GBA.
The structure of the data collection process is shown
in the research path diagram in Figure 2. This shows the
dierent steps taken to ensure the trustworthiness of the
data collection, and to provide a clear research audit trail
(Carcary, 2009). As suggested by Gunawan (2015)we
undertook the steps of respondent selection, triangu-
lation, detailed transcription, and coding. These are
described in detail in the following section.
Selection of key informants
During stage one of the study, a short online survey was
distributed amongst regional contacts to source inter-
viewees familiar with the GBA and to rank cities that
will benet from GBA developments using a Likert
scale of 5 (1 least to 5 most benet). The survey
also included sections on: (1) participant information,
including locations and organizational position; (2)
GBA-related questions, including level of knowledge of
the GBA and (3) participantswillingness to be inter-
viewed subsequently. Recipients were also asked to
forward the survey link to contacts with GBA-related
knowledge. The survey was developed in English and
then translated into Simplied and Traditional Chinese.
The translations were checked by a professional linguist.
The instrument was distributed in late 2020 and early
2021 to hospitality and tourism industry partners and
university graduates in Hong Kong, Macao, and main-
land China, through snowball sampling, generating
about 3,000 leads. A total of 69 valid responses were
received from a total of 83 complete responses.
To select interviewees, initial screening selected
respondents who ranked their knowledge of the GBA
at a level of 4 and above on a 5-point Likert scale. The
ten selected participants included six from hospitality
(the hotel, F&B, and MICE sectors), one each from
tourism services (i.e. travel agency), consulting, recrea-
tion and entertainment, and real estate. The sample
was then expanded through snowballing, until reaching
saturation. The nal purposive sample used in the
second research stage included 24 experts from policy-
making, higher education, hospitality, tourism services,
transportation, recreation and entertainment, market-
ing, and consulting companies. The selected informants
were leaders/experts in tourism and their titles ranged
from Chief Executive/Chair to managers of well-estab-
lished businesses in Hong Kong, Macao, and mainland
China. Those in senior positions are probably better
informed than those at lower levels in the organisation,
and therefore in a better position to make an informed
judgement on the prospects of the GBA. The majority
of our respondents come from the business sector and
are business-oriented, however we also interviewed
some academic and government (or former) ocials to
gain a broader coverage of opinions.
Interviewee proles
The interviews of between 30 and 90 min were adminis-
tered between February and April 2021. They were con-
ducted in either English, Cantonese, or Mandarin with
Figure 2. Research path for the study.
the interviewer outlining the study purpose and pro-
cedures for informed consent. The Chinese transcripts
were translated into English for analysis. Nvivo qualitat-
ive data analysis software was used for initial coding,
selective coding, and thematic coding. Interviewee
proles are listed in Table 1. Most respondents were
Hong Kong-based, because their high level of GBA invol-
vement provided a key perspective on the debordering
processes involved in creating the GBA.
The authors evaluated the interviewee backgrounds
and their company aliations, thereby setting the
stage for more in-depth exploration of current GBA col-
laborations or projects. A good balance of male (13) and
female respondents (11) was achieved. The open-ended
interview questions generally addressed: (1) how inter-
viewees perceived the GBA, including its relevance to
their respective businesses, (2) overall GBA identity and
(3) the self-identity of GBA cities and areas in terms of
culture, heritage, and tourism. The interviews included
questions about collaborative activities across the
public and private sectors as well as between the
dierent GBA sub-regions and constituent cities. The
interview items drew from Richardsplacemaking attri-
butes, covering regional resources (both tangible and
intangible), meanings or identication with these
resources, and creativity (for example governance
arrangements), as well as aspects of GBA marketing
and branding.
The Interview transcripts were subject to open/initial
coding, axial/selective coding, and theoretical/thematic
coding to denote key concepts (Corbin & Strauss, 2015).
Each interview began with a series of open-ended
questions, thereby permitting data analysis into emer-
gent themes for comparison (Hardy, 2005). This constant
comparisonof themes provides an analytic process when
developing the structure of the theory by comparing
pieces of data for similarities and dierences (Corbin &
Strauss, 2015). A broad picture of GBA placemaking and
identity creation was formulated.
Benets for GBA cities
The GBA city rankings presented in Table 2 show that
respondents identied Shenzhen, Zhuhai, and Macao
as the main prospective GBA beneciaries. The proximity
of Shenzhen and Zhuhai to Hong Kong and Macao
respectively may have been a factor. Macao may be a
beneciary because of the disproportionate market
share of mainland Chinese arrivals (70.9% in 2019)
Table 1. Participant proles.
Interviewee # Gender (M/F) Sector Title Location Level of GBA involvement
1 M Travel trade Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
2 M Former government Executive VP Hong Kong Limited
3 M Transport Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
4 F Travel trade CEO Hong Kong Substantial
5 M Travel trade Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
6 M Entertainment CEO Hong Kong Substantial
7 M Former government Executive VP Hong Kong Substantial
8 F Hospitality Manager Zhuhai Limited
9 F Hospitality Manager Hong Kong Limited
10 F Hospitality President Hong Kong Substantial
11 F Entertainment Manager Macao Limited
12 F Entertainment Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Limited
13 F Hotel Developer/ Real Estate Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
14 M Transport General Manager Hong Kong Substantial
15 M MICE Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
16 M Government Executive VP Hong Kong Substantial
17 F MICE Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Limited
18 M Hospitality General Manager Shenzhen Limited
19 M Academic Associate Professor Zhuhai Substantial
20 M Academic Professor Macao Substantial
21 F Destination Marketing / Real Estate Director/ Chairman Macao Substantial
22 F Consulting company Director/ Chairman Hong Kong Substantial
23 F FoShan Government Manager FoShan Substantial
24 M Hospitality Director/ Chairman Macao Substantial
Table 2. To what extent will these cities benet from GBA
developments? Rankings of GBA cities from the online survey.
City City ranking
Rank Average score (out of 5)
Shenzhen 1 4.130
Zhuhai 2 3.986
Macao 3 3.899
Guangzhou 4 3.768
Dongguan 5 3.333
Hong Kong 6 3.290
Zhongshan 7 3.275
Foshan 8 3.130
Huizhou 9 3.101
Jiangmen 10 2.696
Zhaoqing 11 2.580
(Macao Statistics and Census Service, 2020). Hong Kong
will arguably derive less benet because the more dis-
persed regional structure may undermine its current
gateway status. The more peripheral locations of the
lowest ranked cities Jiangmen and Zhaoqing may
account for the lesser familiarity amongst respondents.
Respondent awareness of GBA cities and sub-regions
was analyzed using an NVivo word frequency analysis of
the interview data. Respondents from the two SARs were
removed from the analysis to allow a clearer interpret-
ation of prospective GBA benets of mainland cities.
Table 3 compares online survey responses and intervie-
wee word frequencies for the nine cities. A Spearmans
rank-order correlation of the perceived benets from
the survey and number of mentions in the interviews
produced a correlation coecient of 0.812, statistically
signicant (p= .008) at the 5% condence level.
Additionally, the interviewee rankings correlate signi-
cantly with city rankings in terms of tourism develop-
ment (0.785, p= 0.012) and happiness (0.876, p=
0.002), indicating a high level of consistency in the
results (Kan, 2022; Xie et al., 2021).
The city rankings show Shenzhen, Zhuhai and
Guangzhou as the central core of a hierarchical
network, likely attributable to their locations (Chong &
Pan, 2020). Guangzhou is administrative capital of
Guangdong province and since 1957, has hosted the
globally signicant China Import and Export Fair
(Canton Fair). More knowledgeable interview respon-
dents also ranked Foshan quite highly, indicative of its
hidden gemstatus. Foshan is well-known for martial
arts (kung fu) and respondents frequently mentioned
the culinary attributes of one of its districts Shandu.
Jiangmen also received 23 mentions, perhaps attribu-
table to its UNESCO World Heritage-listed Kaiping
Diaolou. Though Huizhou with its mountains and
scenic undulating countryside was viewed as less devel-
oped, one attribute mentioned was as a Chinese Medi-
cine city. Dongguan is a renowned manufacturing hub,
more recently promoting its cultural prole (Luo &
Huang, 2023). Zhaoqing was the least mentioned city.
In aggregate the word count frequencies are at the
low end (below 30) for Zhongshan, Huizhou, Dongguan,
and Zhaoqing.
Perceptions of GBA geographies
Interviewee perceptions of the GBA helped form a more
detailed understanding of the territory. Some articulated
a clear distinction between the western and eastern
zones, indicative of linkages. With Guangzhou as a geo-
graphic centre, the West encompasses Huizhou, Dong-
guan, and Shenzhen with the East including Zhaoqing,
Foshan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, and Zhuhai. Interviewees
viewed the West as more culture-oriented and less
developed and the East as business focused. Another
noted the more rugged landscapes and relative inac-
cessibility of the West, leading to the retention of estab-
lished cultural practices. The Easts better regional,
national, and international connectivity has been
enhanced by debordering through infrastructural devel-
opments such as the HZMB, high-speed rail and ferry
connections between Hong Kong International Airport
and Guangzhou. Interviewee 14 highlighted that the
HZMB links Zhuhai and Hong Kong airports, thereby
establishing the former as a satellite airport of Hong
Kong linking up the airlines to do code-sharing
apart from passengers we also see a lot of cargo oppor-
tunity from Zhuhai via Hong Kong.He stated that pol-
itically, we dont have borders, we have boundaries.
Park et al. (2022) also noted strong linkages between
Hong Kong and Zhuhai.
Respondents frequently noted the changing impor-
tance of the GBA cities. Guangzhou was characterised
as Chinas original window to the world, though with
Hong Kong increasingly assuming this role. Maritime
culture is another prominent GBA feature, supporting
cultural manifestations such as the Dragon Boat Races
and Fire Dragon Dance in Hong Kong and Na-Tcha
and A-Ma Gau in Macao. Gastronomy is also seen as a
prominent manifestation of intangible heritage in the
There was recognition of Foshans future prospects as
a GBA cultural centre it has strong historical links to
Lingnan architecture, gastronomy, martial artists, and
historic gures. Interviewee 24 described Foshan as
one of Chinas four ancient towns with strong gastro-
nomic associations and quoted the Cantonese saying
eat in Guangzhou, chefs are from FengCheng (an area
Table 3. Rankings of Guangdong cities from the quantitative
survey and qualitative (interview) data.
Survey: To what
extent will these
GBA cities benet
from the GBA
Interviews: Frequency of city
score (out of
5) Rank
Word count
Shenzhen 1 4.130 1 252 29.3%
Zhuhai 2 3.986 2 208 24.2%
Guangzhou 3 3.768 3 198 23.0%
Foshan 6 3.130 4 102 11.9%
Zhongshan 5 3.275 5 27 3.1%
Jiangmen 8 2.696 6 23 2.7%
Huizhou 7 3.101 6 23 2.7%
Dongguan 4 3.333 8 17 2.0%
Zhaoqing 9 2.580 9 10 1.2%
** All districts or towns are grouped under the respective city.
of Foshan) (). Expressed dierently,
this means that the nest food is available in Guangz-
hou, though with the best chefs originating from
Foshan. So-called Father of the NationSun Yat-sen is
another regional connection and linkage. Born in Zhong-
shan, Sun moved to Foshan before residing in Hong
Kong. Interviewees also mentioned various prominent
marital artists such as Lam Sai Wing, Yip Man, and
Wong Fei Hung. They have stimulated the growth of
the regional lm industry, as well as prompting the
establishment of the National Art Studio in Foshans
Xiqiao Mountain.
Cuisine dierentiates the GBA from the rest of China.
Cantonese cuisine exhibits notable commonalities of
cooking methods, taste, local seasonings and ingredi-
ents, as well as local variations. The varieties of meat
dumpling consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival
were mentioned previously. Regional foods are also
associated with language, as evidenced by the
One of the unique features of Huizhou is the Huizhou
spoken language, which combines Hokkien, Hakka,
and Guangdong. This is found nowhere else and is
reected in the lives of locals and in the food. Its impor-
tant for you to identify the cultural characteristics of the
people. (Interviewee 3).
The authors anticipated that language might emerge as
a potential regional dierentiator. Surprisingly, only
three interviewees referred specically to Cantonese
language/dialect as a distinction from the rest of
China. These respondents were either non-Chinese or
had been educated overseas. They expressed the view
that the Cantonese dialect preserves the identity of
GBA, with Hong Kong as its apex.
On the one hand, theres a strong sense of local identity
and at the same time theresinuence from the outside
ltering in, while people continue strongly preserve the
local dialect, more than elsewhere in China. (Interviewee 3).
Respondents may have been reluctant to raise the issue
of language because of its potential sensitivity in a
country where Mandarin Chinese has been vigorously
promoted as a source of national unity. Future research-
ers may wish to use alternative research methods to
draw out any underlying views on this issue.
Perspectives on GBA coherence
Some interviewees characterised GBA as nothing new,
and as simply a multi-destinationre-packaging of the
PRD. A few commented that economic development is
driven by China as a whole rather than by GBA initiatives.
Interviewees with a stronger business orientation/
background perceived GBA as a hub for business
tourism and meetings, incentives, conferences and exhi-
bitions (MICE). Others indicated that the links between
Hong Kong, Macao, and Guangdong provide a destina-
tion clustercatering to business and leisure tourism.
Currently though, GBA seems more developed for dom-
estic markets. Longer term, intensied international
travel is predicted to bring growth, contingent on
post-pandemic opening up.
Although interviewees identied many potentially
unifying elements across GBA encompassing culture,
language and gastronomy, regional integration may be
constrained by developmental inconsistencies. Table 3
indicates that the major beneciaries of GBA develop-
ments will be Shenzhen (near Hong Kong), Zhuhai
(near Macao), and Guangzhou. Each has a stronger
image than the other six mainland cities. The centre-per-
iphery pattern focused around Hong Kong and Guangz-
hou is a challenge for reducing developmental
inequalities. This said, Hong Kong may struggle to
retain its current advantages in the long term. Some
interviewees believe that the city will maintain its com-
petitiveness in service delivery standards and deep inter-
national experience, particularly in hospitality and
tourism. However, Mainland Chinese service levels are
expected to rise progressively with accelerated GBA inte-
gration, easier cross-border travel and greater inter-
national experience, notably in nance and
professional services. In this context, Hong Kong may
lose some of its competitive edge over other Guang-
dong cities. Consistent with Park et al.s(2022)
ndings, one explanation derives from the dierent
administrative priorities in Hong Kong, Macao, and
mainland China:
They even have a functional spin-o, say, for some of the
regulatory bodies. So, you can see that this is how it has
been operated and promotional wise, we have the HKTB
joining them previously there was another setup. So
this is as good as you can get the challenge is
always the priorities that all these dierent authorities
see for themselves. (Interviewee 16).
Another interviewee opined that divergent mindsets
may impede GBA-wide planning. He characterised
Hong Kong as more economically oriented, aggressive,
and competitive, with Macao being more laid-back
and focusing on quality of life.
In contrast to Park et al.s(2022)ndings, respondents
questioned the capacity of the Guangdong, Hong Kong,
and Macao authorities to implement the Culture and
Tourism strategy eectively. Interviewees identied con-
tinuing barriers to debordering between the two SARs
and the mainland, including the banking system, taxa-
tion, customs, and currencies. Uncertainties continue
over the regulations governing Hengqin island. Though
under Macao administrative control, the mainland auth-
orities exercise oversight (Macao Trade and Investment
Promotion Institute, 2021). A lack of clarity over the
status of the border has disinclined Macao residents
from acquiring property and/or taking up residence on
Hengqin island. The debordering process and progress
towards more seamless mobilities has also been
delayed by opaque labor laws, taxation, and nancial
regulations between the 9 + 2 cities.
Respondents noted a lack of transparency in GBA-
wide policymaking, including unclear relationships
between the various city-wide and municipal govern-
ments. One observed the negative implications of
inadequate information for foreigners about tax
changes for investment and managing human capital.
Concerns were also expressed about the reluctance of
government ocials to engage in industry consul-
tations, thereby constraining the prospective develop-
ment of bottom-up approaches. One interviewee
attributed the prevalence of government languageas
inhibiting stakeholder inputs which reinforces top-
down approaches to governance:
They (government) will tell you this is how we do things
this has always been our way etc. But it will be
better if they are willing to listen to us earlier. They
tend to look only at themselves. Everything is about I.
I am like this …’ I.I I…’…We still pay lots of tax.
You are using our taxpayers money. Instead of maximiz-
ing eectiveness, they use government language.
(Interviewee 13)
Eectiveness is inhibited by a knowledge gap between
senior leadership and those administering policies,
even when government planning initiatives are sound.
Implementing GBA planning evidently suers from
inadequate attention to operational issues and feasi-
bility. Respondents look forward to devolved power
sharing across various levels of government as attention
on the GBA increases, thereby reducing incoherence.
Potential for a coherent GBA brand
Many respondents had only vague awareness of the GBA
brand and of the positioning of the cities. One proposed
adopting a bottom-up approach amongst both resi-
dents and visitors to identify key impressions of GBA
cities. Tech-smart Shenzhen, for example, could be posi-
tioned as a smart city. Another suggested a dierent
positioning for each GBA city, thereby enabling the
region to appeal to dierent tourist markets. These can
include segmentations based on visitor motivation and
activities, such as gastronomy, photography and con-
sumption of cityscapes (Lei et al., 2022; Kirillova et al.,
2020). An overall umbrella brand for the region could
follow positioning for the constituent cities, with the-
matic region-wide tourism products drawing upon the
disparate attractions of each. A Hong Kong travel trade
respondent proposed developing cross-border theme-
based itineraries between Hong Kong and mainland
cities to attract a diversity of visitors. This is complex,
given the aspiration of each city and/or district to high-
light a multiplicity of cultural assets. One interviewee
proposed adopting the umbrella conceptof Lingnan
culture drawing on shared elements of history, culture,
arts and gastronomy to inform a distinct identity for
each city. The interviewee reactions reect the diverse
cultural governance strategies of the GBA cities and
suggest challenges to establishing a coherent region-
wide image and identity.
Our research indicates that the GBA currently lacks a
coherent brand, at least in part because the placemaking
activities needed to underpin a collective branding are
lacking. While debordering processes in the GBA may
be enhancing tangible aspects of integration, such as
increased accessibility, intangible placemaking
measures, such as developing collective meanings
around cultural expressions, lag behind. This is partly
because of dierential reactions to the GBA among sta-
keholders and persisting barriers to collaboration, as dis-
cussed below.
Reactions to the GBA
Respondents reacted to GBA developments in one of
two main ways. Early adoptershave chosen to be
proactive and to capitalise on the opportunities associ-
ated with the National Plan. Some hotel groups have
already emphasised GBA cultureas part of their Guang-
dong-wide property development plans. Travel trade
and MICE related companies have also established
branch oces and formed partnerships within the
GBA. By contrast and consistent with Chois(2021)
ndings, laggardrespondents have adopted a wait-
and-seeapproach, citing a lack of clarity and transpar-
ency in GBA policies. Many regional stakeholders are evi-
dently not yet embracing the central government vision
of building a quality place for people to work, live and
visit. There were concerns among some Hong Kong-
based participants and notably former government
ocials, that the city may lose its competitive advan-
tage, consistent with Chans(2021) observations. These
stakeholders have not yet bought into the quality
living circleplacemaking concept of the GBA.
However, respondents with more GBA-related knowl-
edge opined that involvement from the SARs will
enhance levels of service and product quality in the
region, and in time can create a shared sense of place.
Removing tangible and intangible barriers
(De)bordering processes mean many implementation
challenges remain for the GBA. Although the Chinese
government introduced 144-hours visa-free for
foreigners traveling to Guangdong, travel trade respon-
dents indicated that travel is still impeded by distinct
visa requirements for entering Hong Kong, Macao, and
mainland China. These respondents advocate swift elim-
ination of this obstacle, enabling tourism developments
to capitalise on new cross-boundary transportation net-
works and facilities. The so-called articial islandHong
Kong and Macao entry and exit points symbolise the
current debordering process and are attractions in
their own right.
Further debordering initiatives may provide opportu-
nities to enhance mega-regional identities. Cross-border
settlement is already evident between Macao and
Hengqin island, where Macao residents can cross the
border freely. However, there is still hesitancy amongst
many Macao residents due to diverging systems of
income tax and social security legislation. As has been
demonstrated in Europe, eective placemaking means
going beyond the removal of barriers and attaching
meanings or storytelling to the region. According to
Meulbroek et al. (2022), if the GBA is a unilateral creature
of central-state at, it will only amount to a package of
infrastructural projects and nancial incentives; it must
ultimately become eco-systemic, by animating in
regiondevelopmental practices, mixed progressively
with an emergent culture-economy of concertation
and co-ordination(p. 20).
Integrating culture and tourism
The GBA Plan envisages a unique culture as a resource
connecting people from across the region, especially
the intangible elements identied by interviewees,
such as gastronomy, language, and martial artistry.
Respondents suggested that GBA cities can become
microregionsby strengthening linkages with their hin-
terlands and leveraging gastronomy, marital arts,
Lingnan, and Cantonese dialect connections across
South China. Foshan was identied as a prospective
GBA cultural hub because of its rich tangible and intan-
gible heritage. Luo (2021) also suggested that Foshan
can use its location and rich cultural resources to
strengthen network relationships with Hong Kong,
Macao, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. A coherent place nar-
rative can add meaning to increase identication with
the GBA: an internal storycan provide local commu-
nities with a sense of pride and self-identity and an
external storycould encourage tourists and investors
to learn about and explore the region. However, the
fact that no current respondent could articulate a coher-
ent GBA place narrative is indicative of the elusiveness of
such stories.
Top-down and bottom-up placemaking
In line with Lews(2017) analysis, both top-down and
bottom-up placemaking activities were identied in
the GBA. Some respondents observed that Chinas top-
down approach oers administrative advantages and
swift implementation. However, its eectiveness in the
GBA case is debatable. Our interviews indicated that
the 9+2cities have been operating relatively indepen-
dently, and businesses seem to have been investing
because of the perceived opportunities within China as
a whole, rather than within GBA. Devoid of a coherent
GBA brand, each city proceeds to brand itself, with
bottom-up placemaking initiatives predominating.
These ndings reect Chens(2022) observation that
little is being done to publicise the integrated tourism
resources of the GBA as a whole.Park et al. (2022) also
noted the absence of GBA-wide governance to stimulate
the necessary multilateral government interactions that
might overcome the competing interests of diverse
cross-border actors.
As Dupre (2019) notes: Place-making is a collective
act, and it reinforces relations between community
members, consolidates the foundations of a culture.
However, in the GBA there seems to be less collective
identication that could provide a basis for an umbrella
image. As mentioned previously, only three respondents
proposed Cantonese language as a unique identity for
GBA, despite the dialects prevalence and rich cultural
heritage. This also reects Luo and Huangs(2023)
identication of divergent views about cultural assets
across the various GBA cities, a lack of identication
that can limit regional placemaking prospects.
To build regional branding, sensitive place manage-
ment will be needed, drawing upon divergent cultural
assets. It will be important to develop a higher-level
and values-based regional vision which extends
beyond a task-orientation (Beer et al., 2019;Hu&
Hassink, 2017). The various interesting localised place-
making initiatives across the region (such as Lang Kwai
Fong, New World Developments K-11 Musea Art Mall
in Hong Kong and family D-Theme Park in Shenzhens
Prince Bay), indicate a focus on bottom-up rather than
top-down placemaking, which might also explain the
lukewarm stakeholder reactions about the prospects of
the GBA. Achieving stakeholder buy-in may require
them to be given a clear stake in the collective
benets of the quality living circleof the GBA,
perhaps as noted by Chong and Pan (2020) by creating
channels for entrepreneurs other than government to
participate in regional governance.
Conclusions and opportunities for future
Our ndings indicate that to date the top-down brand-
ing initiatives of the GBA have failed to produce regional
coherence, and may even have limited bottom-up place-
making activity. Regional stakeholders have so far recog-
nised little benet from the development of a quality
living circle, and the indications are that new govern-
ance structures will be needed to engage stakeholders
and develop the combination of top-down and
bottom-up placemaking activity advocated by Lew
(2017) and Richards (2020).
Linking these two levels of placemaking activity
might be facilitated by the development of a cultural
governance system, as suggested by Luo and Huang
(2023). Cultural governance supposes greater collabor-
ation in development processes, through dialogue,
trust building, commitment to the process and shared
understanding. Gugu and Dal Molin (2016) suggest
that increasing involvement of stakeholders through cul-
tural governance can have important outcomes in terms
of developing new projects and infrastructure, new
knowledge and increased cultural activities and audi-
ences. Cultural governance would arguably allow GBA
actors to capitalise on the signicant cultural resources
of the region with tourism potential, notably gas-
tronomy, martial arts, Lingnan culture and language.
Currently these resources are being utilised by some of
the cities to develop their own tourism markets, with
little consideration being given to their regional poten-
tial, which would also facilitate opening up the GBA to
international markets. Having a cultural base for GBA
integration might also emulate the success of placemak-
ing initiatives elsewhere, as EU examples have shown
(Stoelen & Vanneste, 2017). However, the GBA de-bor-
dering experience oers a dierent perspective from the
European examples prevalent across the literature. For
Europe, Stoelen and Vanneste (2017) emphasised the
importance of providing an overarching vision that
includes cultural and social aspects and building trust.
Whilst physical integration has been the major GBA
underpinning, there has been minimal attention to
developing cultural inclusivity and feelings of belonging.
This may explain the highly variable support evident for
the GBA concept between stakeholders across the
region. The currently prevalent top-down governance
may stie the emergence of bottom-up placemaking
initiatives, and has prompted a wait-and-seeapproach
amongst private sector entities in real estate and enter-
tainment. City support has also been patchy, thereby
perpetuating interregional imbalances, notably
between cities in the East and West.
The (de)bordering processes linked to the GBA have
also created challenges. In the SARs, concerns remain
about losing competitive advantage versus the main-
land cities, thereby increasing regional tensions. This
also explains the decient coordination and coherence
across regional governance and diverging city priorities.
The top-down implementation of big ideasacross
China generally works well for hardware and infrastruc-
ture. However, it is less productive for culture since the
latter relies more on bottom-uporganic approaches,
evident in the concept of tactical placemakingor crea-
tive placemaking. Although the SARs were seen as
helping the GBA to go global, uneven development
means that each city will need its own clear direction
and strategy to support the goal of regional develop-
ment. Combining the individual eorts of the cities
into an integrated destination development strategy
will be important, because as Ho (2020) notes: Exactly
because there is a natural tendency for intercity rivalry,
it is important to remind each of the cities that
working together rather than ghting each other will
serve the best interest of all the cities in the area.In
our view this coherence can best be developed
through the cultural governance approach described
Contribution to scholarship
The current study adds value to the literature by analys-
ing (de)bordering and placemaking processes in the
unique context of the GBA. Our research shows that
the top-down placemaking approach in the Chinese
context generates dierent opportunities and chal-
lenges than previous studies in the EU. A top-down
approach is shown to have a number of advantages, par-
ticularly in terms of speed and the development of tan-
gible resources, but at the same time creates challenges
for stakeholder inclusion and the development of intan-
gible cultural resources. Relative to previous GBA
studies, the current investigation has given greater
attention to destination development and Richardspla-
cemaking perspective has provided a more holistic
assessment of the challenges and opportunities.
Demand side challenges have also been considered,
notably a prospective future emphasis on domestic
versus international visitors. We have also extended
Haven-Tang and Jones(2012) work in emphasising
place leadership as a complement to governance.
Study limitations
Much of the stakeholder sample was Hong Kong and/or
Macao-based and tourism oriented, with lesser coverage
for mainland and cultural perspectives. However, many
respondents have active GBA involvements, enabling
them to oer a tourism perspective on the complex
emerging relationship with culture. A further methodo-
logical limitation was respondent self-identication of
their levels of knowledge about the topic of interest.
Some relevant respondents may have been omitted
and others may have overestimated their level of aware-
ness. Against this, the authors ascertain their thoughtful
consideration of respondent suitability in covering key
criteria (e.g. industry subsector, government, and
private sector). A further concern stems from the assem-
bly of empirical inputs in early 2021 as the pandemic was
spreading, though before the implications were becom-
ing understood. The authors are nevertheless condent
that the ndings oer meaningful guidance for the post-
pandemic period beyond the continuing limitations on
travel to and from China at the time of writing.
Opportunities for future researchers
Further investigations might provide enhanced insights
about opportunities to develop aspects of intangible
GBA culture. Events provide a prospective marketing
and promotion tool, forming connections with other
agendas such as fostering positive cultural, social and
economic impacts. Though the potential impacts of de-
bordering have mainly been addressed from a physical
perspective (e.g. the construction of new bridges and
related infrastructure), cultural impacts merit further scho-
larly consideration. Finally, attention should be paid to
recent Hong Kong initiatives to develop GBA cultural
links, connecting with the central governmentslong-
range planning objectives to 2035. Our research has
also focused on the decision-makers who are already
aware of GBA developments. Future research could use-
fully also reect on the role of grass-roots stakeholders,
particularly those in the cultural and creative sectors, in
driving bottom-up placemaking processes.
Disclosure statement
No potential conict of interest was reported by the author(s).
This paper and research project (Work Programme: 5-ZJLZ) are
funded by Research Grant of Hospitality and Tourism Research
Centre (HTRC Grant) of the School of Hotel and Tourism Man-
agement, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University..
Notes on contributors
Brian King is Professor and Department Head of Recreation,
Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, USA. He
specializes in the cultural dimensions of tourism and has pub-
lished books and articles on tourism marketing, resorts, VFR
travel and Asia-Pacic tourism. He is Co-editor-in-chief of
Tourism, Culture and Communication.
Greg Richards is Professor of Placemaking and Events at Breda
University and Professor of Leisure Studies at the University of
Tilburg in The Netherlands. His recent publications include
Reinventing the Local in Tourism, Small Cities with Big
Dreams: Creative Placemaking and Branding Strategies and
Rethinking Cultural Tourism.
Angela Chu is the Lecturer of the Tourism and Languages, The
Business School at Edinburgh Napier University. Her research
interests in hospitality leadership, tourism, cruise, and
revenue management.
Brian King
Greg Richards
Angela Mai Chi Chu
Beer, A., Ayres, S., Clower, T., Faller, F., Sancino, A., & Sotarauta,
M. (2019). Place leadership and regional economic develop-
ment: A framework for cross-regional analysis. Regional
Studies,53(2), 171182.
Bi, D., & Tian, W. (2020). The charateristics and trends of tourism
development in the guangdong-Hong Kong-macao greater
Bay area. In J. Jiang & D. Bi (Eds.), Tourism product develop-
ment in China, Asian and European countries (pp. 93107).
Springer Singapore.
Carcary, M. (2009). The research audit trialEnhancing trust-
worthiness in qualitative inquiry. Electronic Journal of
Business Research Methods,7(1), 1124.
Chan, C. S., & Shek, K. F. (2021). Are guangdong-Hong Kong-
macao Bay area cities attractive to university students in
Hong Kong? Leading the potential human capital from
image perception to locational decisions. Journal of Place
Management and Development,14(4), 404429. https://doi.
Chan, H. Y. K. (2021). Can economic integration reduce social
unrest? Evidence from China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Journal of East Asian Studies,21(3), 403426. https://doi.
Chen, X. (2022). Exploring the translationdevelopment inter-
actions from an emergent semiotic perspective. Linguistica
Antverpiensia, New Series Themes in Translation Studies,
China Highlights. (2021). The Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau
Chinese Cultural Studies Centre. (2021). Intangible Cultural
Heritage in China.
Choi, J. N. (2021). Building a bridge over muddy waters
Findings from a survey of HK SMEs on their understanding
of the GBA Initative.
Chong, Z., & Pan, S. (2020). Understanding the structure and
determinants of city network through intra-rm service
relationships: The case of guangdong-Hong Kong-macao
greater Bay area. Cities,103, 102738.
Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research:
Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory
(4th ed.). SAGE Publicaitons, Inc.
Dupre, K. (2019). Trends and gaps in place-making in the
context of urban development and tourism. Journal of
Place Management and Development,12(1), 102120.
Gao, J., Ryan, C., Cave, J., & Zhang, C. (2019). Tourism border-
making: A political economy of Chinas border tourism.
Annals of Tourism Research,76,113.
Gilmore, F. (2002). A countrycan it be repositioned? Spain
The success story of country branding. Journal of Brand
Management,9(4), 281293.
Graddol, D., & Danielewicz-Betz, A. (2015). Borderland English:
Signs of transition across the expiring ChinaHong Kong
border. Asian Englishes,17(1), 328.
Greater Bay Area Hong Kong. (2017). Framework Agreement
on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation
in the Development of the Greater Bay Area. https://www.
Greater Bay Area Hong Kong. (2019). Outline Development
Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay
Area Contents.
Greater Bay Area Hong Kong. (2020). Guangdong-Hong
Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area - Overview. https://www.
Gugu, S., & Dal Molin, M. (2016). Collaborative local cultural
governance. Administration & Society,48(2), 237262.
Gunawan, J. (2015). Ensuring trustworthiness in qualitative
research. Belitung Nursing Journal,1(1), 1011. https://doi.
Han, S. (2018). Hong Kong-zhuhai-macao bridge articial island
port. ArchDaily.Com.
Hankinson, G. (2009). Managing destination brands: establish-
ing a theoretical foundation. Journal of Marketing
Management,25(1-2), 97115.
Hardy, A. (2005). Using grounded theory to explore
stakeholder perceptions of tourism. Journal of Tourism and
Cultural Change,3(2), 108133.
Haven-Tang, C., & Jones, E. (2012). Local leadership for rural
tourism development: A case study of adventa, monmouth-
shire, UK. Tourism Management Perspectives,4,2835.
Henderson, J. C. (2001). Regionlisation and tourism: The
Indonesia-Malaysia-Singapore growth triangle. Current
Issues in Tourism,4(2-4), 7893.
Hong Kong Tourist Board (HKTB). (2020). 2019 hk tourism stat-
istics. HKTB
Ho, L. S. (2020). Greater Bay Area: A market-driven plan to
enhance quality of life and development. Asian Education
and Development Studies,9(3), 287295.
Hong Kong 2003 Travel and Tourism. (2003). HK Government
Hong Kong Government Information Centre. (2021). One country,
two systems.
Hornskov, S.B. (2014). The authenticity challenge. In N. Morgan,
A. Pritchard & R. Pride (Eds.), Destination brands: Managing
place reputation (3rd ed., pp. 105116). Routledge-Taylor &
Francis Group.
Hospers, G. J. (2006). Borders, bridges and branding: The trans-
formation of the Øresund region into an imagined space.
European Planning Studies,14(8), 10151033. https://doi.
Hu, X., & Hassink, R. (2017). Place leadership with Chinese
characteristics? A case study of the zaozhuang coal-mining
region in transition. Regional Studies,51(2), 224234.
Huang, K., & Liu, Y. (2023). The embeddedness and hidden political
economy of the world heritage site inscription boom in China.
Growth and Change.
Huang, X., Xu, H., & Li, X. R. (2022). Spatial development of two
villages: Bordering, debordering, and rebordering in a com-
munity scenic area. Annals of Tourism Research,93, 103370.
Hui, E. C. M., Li, X., Chen, T., & Lang, W. (2020). Deciphering
the spatial structure of Chinas megacity region: A new
bay areaThe guangdong-Hong Kong-macao greater Bay
area in the making. Cities,105, 102168.
Hultman, J., & Hall, C. M. (2012). Tourism place-making. Annals
of Tourism Research,39(2), 547570.
Kaijun, W. (2016). Research on brand competitiveness of pro-
vincial tourism destinations in mainland ChinaA visual
perspective of world-class and national scenic spot brands.
Economics & Management Journal,38(06|6), 154165.
Kan, F. (2022). Study on coupling and coordinated develop-
ment of regional tourism industry and new-type urbaniz-
ation using entropy method: A case study of Guangdong-
Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. DOI:10.21203/
Kirillova, K., Park, J., Zhu, M., Dioko, L. (Don), & Zeng, G. (2020).
Developing the coopetitive destination brand for the
greater Bay area. Journal of Destination Marketing &
Management,17(5), 100439.
Hong Kong SAR. (2022). Proposed Culture, Sports and Tourism
Hong,W.C.H.,Ngan,H.F.B.,Yu,J.,&Zhao,Y.(2022). An eye-track-
ing study of exoticism in intra-national destinations in the
Greater Bay area of China, Tourism Recreation Research,47(4),
KPMG. (2018). Connecting opportunities in the greater Bay area.
Hong Kong.
Lei,W.S.,Chen,Z.,Zhou,X.,&King,B.E.M.(2022). Organic des-
tination imagery and social media: Mapping tourism dynamics
across Chinas greater Bay area cities. Journal of China Tourism
Lew, A. A. (2017). Tourism planning and place making: Place-
making or placemaking? Tourism Geographies,19(3), 448
Li, X., Gong, J., Gao, B., & Yuan, P. (2021). Impacts of COVID-19
on touristsdestination preferences: Evidence from China.
Annals of Tourism Research,90, 103258.
Li, C., Ng, M. K., Tang, Y., & Fung, T. (2022). From a world factor-
yto Chinas Bay area: a review of the outline of the develop-
ment plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao greater
Bay area. Planning Theory & Practice,23(2), 310314.
Liu, J., & Shi, W. (2021). A cross-boundary travel tale: Unraveling
Hong Kong residentsmobility pattern in Shenzhen by using
metro smart card data. Applied Geography, (December 2020),
Lu, H., de Jong, M., & Chen, Y. (2017). Economic city branding in
China: The multi-level governance of municipal self-pro-
motion in the greater pearl river delta. Sustainability,9(4),
Luo, M. (2021). Research on the joint development of cities of
guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau greater Bay area: A case
study of foshan city. Proceedings of Business and Economic
Studies,4(5), 17.
Luo, X., & Huang, Y. (2023). A cultural turn in urban governance:
Cultural practices of governance in the guangdong-Hong
Kong-Macau greater Bay area. International Journal of
Cultural Policy,29(2), 169183.
Macao Statistics and Census Service. (2020). Macao Top 10
Visitor 2019 Source Markets. In Macao Government
Tourism Oce.
Publication/Report?lang = E.
Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute. (2021).
Welcome to Hengqin New Area.
Meulbroek, C., Peck, J., & Zhang, J. (2022). Bayspeak: Narrating
Chinas greater Bay area. Journal of Contemporary Asia,53(1),
Ong, C. E., & Liu, Y. (2022). State-directed tourism urbanisation
in Chinas Hengqin. Annals of Tourism Research, 94, 103379.
Palermo, P.C., & Ponzini, D. (2015). Place-making and Urban
Development: New Challenges for Planning and Design.
Park, J., Tse, S., Mi, S. D., & Song, H. (2022). A model for cross-
border tourism governance in the greater Bay area.
Journal of China Tourism Research,18(6), 12591283.
Priatmoko, S., Kabil, M., Vasa, L., Pallás, E. I., & Dávid, L. D. (2021).
Reviving an unpopular tourism destination through the pla-
cemaking approach: Case study of ngawen temple,
Indonesia. Sustainability,13(12), 6704.
Prideaux , B., & Cooper, C. (2002). "Marketing and Destination
Growth: A symbiotic relationship or simple coincidence".
Journal of Vacation Marketing ,9(1), 3551.
Razali, M. K., & Ismail, H. N. (2014). Tourism place-making at
tourism destination from a concept of governance.
International Journal of Ecology and Development,30(3), 8897.
Richards, G. (2020). Designing creative places: The role of creative
tourism. Annals of Tourism Research,85(November 2019),
Richards, G., & Duif, L. (2019). Small cities with Big dreams:
Creative placemaking and branding strategies. Routledge.
Shen, J. (2003). Cross-border connection between Hong Kong
and mainland China under two systemsbefore and beyond
1997. Geograska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography,85(1),
Stoelen, A., & Vanneste, D. (2017). Tourism and cross-border
regional development: Insights in European contexts.
European Planning Studies,25(6), 10131033. https://doi.
Timothy, D. J., Saarinen, J., & Viken, A. (2016). Editorial: Tourism
issues and international borders in the Nordic Region.
Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism,16(sup1),
UNESCO. (2021). China - UNESCO World Heritage Centre.
Wan, P. Y. K. (2013). A comparison of the governance of tourism
planning in the two special administrative regions (SARs) of
China Hong Kong and macao. Tourism Management,36,
Więckowski, M., & Timothy, D. J. (2021). Tourism and an evol-
ving international boundary: Bordering, debordering and
rebordering on usedom island, Poland-Germany. Journal of
Destination Marketing & Management,22.
Xie, A., Liu, L., & Qin, L. (2021). Fuzzy comprehensive evaluation
of happiness index of nine cities in pearl river delta based on
AHP. Journal of Mathematics, 7732095.
Yang, C. (2006). The pearl river delta and Hong Kong: An evol-
ving cross-boundary region under one country, two
systems.Habitat International,30(1), 6186. https://doi.
Yang, L., & Yu, L. (2020). A study on the evaluation of urban
tourism competitiveness in guangdong-Hong Kong-macao
greater Bay area. IOP Conference Series: Earth and
Environmental Science,526(1), 17.
Zhao, M., Liang, W., Xu, G., & Li, Z. (2019). Urban networks of
leisure activities: Using douban event to measure interaction
in the megacity region of the pearl river delta. In X. Ye & X.
Liu (Eds.), Cities as spatial and social networks (pp. 165189).
Springer International Publishing.
Zheng, Q., Kuang, Y., & Huang, N. (2016). Coordinated develop-
ment between urban tourism economy and transport in the
pearl river delta, peoples republic of China. Sustainability,8
Zhou, Q. B., Zhang, J., Zhang, H., & Li, X. R. (2018). Is all authen-
ticity accepted by tourists and residents? The concept,
dimensions and formation mechanism of negative authen-
ticity. Tourism Management,67,5970.
... It employs cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and other new science and technology to assist individuals in comprehending tourism information rapidly, organizing and modifying their tourism plans, and achieving intelligent perception and convenient use of tourism information (Li, Hu, Huang and Duan, 2017). Finally, tourist experience, management, service, and marketing represent the development and growth of intelligent tourism (King, Richards and Chu, 2023). China is late to develop intelligent tourism. ...
Full-text available
The rapid urbanization occurring in China has brought increased attention from scholars towards the issue of revitalizing historical conservation of towns and adapting them to meet the needs of a modern city. In contemporary times, there is a notable emphasis among local residents and experts on the matter of effectively integrating the historical and cultural aspects, distinctive qualities, and traditional practices of a given locality with the demands and dynamics of urban life in a manner that preserves its historical essence. The present study focuses on several questions: What are the philosophical underpinnings and conceptual significance of conservation, regeneration, and urban evolution? What are the existing guidelines and implemented schemes of regeneration in China based on the principles of Space syntax theory and configurational analysis? The primary goal is to enhance the functionality of historical conservation of towns and improve the living environment for the local inhabitants. The study begins with the challenges faced in the historical conservation of towns in the backdrop of high-speed urbanization. Subsequently, it introduces the Space syntax theory as a theoretical perspective to address the problem of how to ensure the preservation of historical towns in line with the demands of the modern cities in China. The current study used the bibliometric analysis method based on Scopus, Dimension and Web of science databases. The analysis was performed on R software and VOS viewer. Furthermore, only published articles, review papers and book chapters were selected that are published between 2000–2022. Lastly, the study suggests that the future research on the conservation of historical cities in China shall focus on policy formulation and community involvement in conservation and the regeneration of historic areas. The need to involve the public in the decision-making process of the future of their cities is imperative, since the locals are the end-users to every regeneration scheme, hence they are the key stakeholder responsible for ensuring the sustainability of their region.
Full-text available
The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area or GBA), a megalopolis in China, has developed rapidly and achieved remarkable results in recent years. This study aims to explore the translation-development interactions in the GBA from an emergent semiotic perspective. Following the studies on translation and development (Marais, 2014, 2018; Olivier de Sarden, 2005), this study views development as a semiotic process of making meaning under specific affordances and constraints, while translations could be regarded as meaningful intercultural mediations or adaptations that help to transcend language barriers and support regional development. Through exploring different translation practices in education, economics and the media, this study analyses how translation plays a mediating role in the development of the GBA in multiple respects. It first examines the adaptation of curriculum designs of translation courses in the universities of the GBA and then analyses the functions of the translation industry in support of the economic development of the GBA. Finally, it analyses the translations of international publicity material on the tourism websites of the GBA to explore the ways in which translation mediates in the cultural exchanges and coordinated developments regarding the GBA and its component parts. The research findings show that translation practices interact with the developmental contexts at the linguistic, economic and cultural levels, contributing to the coordinated development of the GBA.
Full-text available
The new development pattern of "dual circulation" raises interesting questions regarding new pathways of coordinated development between the tourism industry and urbanization. The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area) is a connecting area of internal and external circulation of China’s economy, and accordingly, this paper selects the “9 + 2” urban agglomeration of the Greater Bay Area as the study area. Given the differences in statistical indexes and units among Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, this paper selects suitable indexes to establish an evaluation system for development of the tourism industry and new-type urbanization. The paper then calculates the comprehensive development level and coupling coordination degree of the tourism industry and new-type urbanization in the 11 cities of the Greater Bay Area from 2010 to 2019 using the entropy method and coupling coordination degree model. The results show that the comprehensive development levels of and coupling coordination degree between the tourism industry and new-type urbanization in the 11 cities exhibit evident grading. Ranking the high-quality development level from high to low, the 11 cities can be divided into three echelons: Guangzhou is the first echelon, Shenzhen and Hong Kong are the second echelon, and the other cities are the third echelon. All 11 cities exhibited a steady development trend in the period. Accordingly, this paper further puts forward countermeasures and suggestions to cope with the "dual circulation" strategy and continuously enhance the benign interaction between the development of the tourism industry and the process of urbanization.
Since the mid‐1980s, there has been a boom in world heritage site (WHS) inscriptions in China. Nevertheless, incumbent studies have not sufficiently explained why cities are enthusiastic about and capable of joining the boom. They tend to attribute such enthusiasm to the WHS values in heritage protection and tourism development. However, why stakeholders have motivations and opportunities to create the boom and what institutional environments support the craze are still yet to be answered. This paper investigates the boom through the concept of embeddedness to display how multi‐scalar institutional contexts in China stimulate and sustain WHS nomination. This study argues that the enthusiasm for WHS inscription is embedded in the political‐economic interests of stakeholders on different scales. At international and national levels, WHS nomination is regarded as a political tool to address diplomatic agendas, shape national honor, and balance regional development. On a local scale, WHS inscriptions can serve as a solid pretext for local states in China to fulfill their strong developmental imperatives and break financial constraints. These imperatives are embedded in China's transitional institutional environment, associated with power decentralization, central‐local fiscal rearrangements, and the top‐down system of cadre evaluation. In this context, local states are ambitious of initiating large‐scale development projects to boost local development. WHS nomination has become a pretext for local states to fulfill extraordinary development in tourism and other industries, such as the real estate industry. This study discloses the hidden political economy behind the WHS inscription boom using the cases of Wulingyuan and the South China Karst.
Drawing upon Gunn’s formative concept of organic destination image this study proposes an application and extension in a contemporary regional context. Noting that the formation of destination image now emanates from tourists as well as from tourism businesses, the researchers use a prominent Chinese social media platform – the Red – to evaluate tourist/user generated content on the destination image of the ‘9 + 2’ Greater Bay Area cities in southern China (9 mainland cites plus Macao and Hong Kong SARs). The authors employed computer-aided lexical analysis on over 10,000 posts extracted from the Red. Four clusters of designative and prescriptive image are revealed. The study contributes to knowledge by applying big data analytics to study destination image from the tourist perspective (user-generated organic image), especially in a regional context. The insights offer prospective benefits to destination planners at local and regional levels by showing the merits of mobilizing tourism resources across multiple cities.
This paper examines an intense form of tourism urbanisation that is produced by the dual operations of strong Chinese-style socialist instructions and ambitious capitalistic experimentations. Drawing on a decade-long recurring ethnography at Hengqin, this study traces state-directed discourses and how these have been discursively, practically performed, and negotiated. Specifically, we found Hengqin's massive tourism development was intended to create an urban tourism destination for a state-directed purpose -the integration of Macao and Hong Kong with mainland China. However, state-directed processes are seldom uncritically consumed and performed by planners, stakeholders, and residents. This paper furthers understandings of tourism urbanisation in terms of state-directedness, everyday negotiations, and sheds light on the contributions of tourism studies to the understandings of urban processes.
China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative is the latest and most ambitious attempt to “regionalise” the development process in the Pearl River Delta, promising to accelerate political-economic integration via an innovation-intensive model of growth. Drawing on the techniques of critical discourse analysis, this article presents a deconstruction of the GBA’s emergent spatial imaginary – “bayspeak” – and the rescaled mode of governance that it portends. By way of an interrogation of texts and contexts relating to the GBA initiative, it is suggested that the plan should be taken seriously, if not literally, in its projection of an encompassing and assimilative, if somewhat intransitive, mode of governance. An effort to constitute a mega-region “for itself,” rather than simply “in itself,” the GBA programme has opened a new space (and scale) for co-ordinated development and growth-coalition building under the auspices of the decentralised party-state. As an emergent discourse, bayspeak can be read as hyperbolic, aspirational and symbolic, but as the benign and developmentalist face of the Communist Party line in this economically important but politically stressed region, it may yet prove to be significant.
Tracing the concept and phenomena of ‘cultural governance’, as it evolves along the agenda of China’s ‘modernization of governing capacity (of the state)’, this article tries to capture the various term-shaping processes against the backdrop of a political discourse that gave birth to them. The article discusses topics such as urban planning, infrastructure upgrading, community reformation, and the so-called cultural-sustainable development strategy adopted by the Chinese authorities with selected cases from three mainland Chinese urban centers (Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan) of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. Pointing to both the flexibility and adaptability of the state’s involvement, the research elaborates the models adopted by and problems associated with various pioneering programs initiated by municipalities as they carry out what might be called, arguably, a ‘cultural turn’ of urban governance.
This study integrates Lefebvre's theory of space production with the local border perspective as a theoretical basis to analyze the dynamic impacts of tourism development on changes to space, identity, and social relations in a destination and its surrounding community. Taking China's Hongcun Village, a bordered UNESCO cultural World Heritage Site, and its neighboring community Jicun as study cases, interviews and observations were conducted to achieve these research objectives. Results illustrate the multi-dimensional and dynamic development of local borders between a scenic area and its surrounding villages, further suggesting that local borders formed and developed through tourism are socially constructed and embody a process of bordering, debordering, and rebordering under the influences of different stakeholders and power relations.
With advances in transportation and information technology, territorial and administrative barriers are being overcome to carve out regions for multi-destination tourism. This study on collaboration and governance within the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) highlights the complexities in developing cross-bordr tourism destinations under a multi-level administrative structure that comprises one country, two systems, and three jurisdictions. Given the enormous scale of cross-border flows and collaborations, the complexities of developing cross-border tourism destinations underscore the need for integrated tourism governance to address subregional differences in the GBA. Applying the institutional analysis and development framework, this study identifies the core elements and synergy mechanisms of cross-border tourism collaboration and further investigates evaluative criteria in the post-pandemic era for achieving collective and resilient development. Our findings provide key insights for a variety of stakeholders involved in the planning and marketing of cross-border tourism destinations.