Chinese tourists that travel overseas is a growing and relatively recent phenomenon in the tourism industry. Cultural differences between hosts and guests may arise at destinations which challenge the way tourism practices are managed. This study explores the relatively recent phenomenon of the new class of emerging Chinese tourists in Giethoorn, a small town in the north of the Netherlands. Obtaining empirical evidence in the form of qualitative interviews with both experts of businesses in Giethoorn and Chinese tourists visiting Giethoorn, this study aims to answer the following research question: How and in what ways, does the new class of emerging Chinese tourists challenge sustainable tourism practices in Giethoorn? Using thematic analysis, several issues were identified related to sustainability and the adaptation to tourists’ needs, as well as Chinese tourists’ concerns over food and authenticity. The results show that while experts from businesses in Giethoorn are concerned about sustainability in terms of the number of tourists, boats and parking spaces in the area, Chinese tourists focus on the type of food offered and the appearance of the town in terms of authenticity, nature and landscape, and architecture. Understanding Chinese tourist’s needs and demands is key to adapt tourism practices for this type of tourists and for finding solutions which address sustainable issues in Giethoorn. This study adds knowledge about non-Western tourists and their influence in Western destinations.

culture, tourism, Sustainable tourism, tourism practices, authenticity, Chinese tourist behaviour, non-Western tourism, Giethoorn
L. Duits
Place, Culture and Tourism
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

A. Lopez Saez. (2019, June 24). The New Class of Emerging Chinese Tourists and Sustainable Tourism Practices in Giethoorn. Place, Culture and Tourism. Retrieved from