Mobile darkness of wellness tourism destination: a case study of Bama

Authors: Ke Wang*, school of tourism management, Sun Yat-sen University, Honggang Xu, school of tourism management, Sun Yat-sen University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: wellness tourism destination, darkness, cancer tourists, therapeutic landscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Balcony K, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

With a growing population of old people and increasing health consciousness in China, some remote rural areas supported by the good natural environment have developed wellness tourism industry. The Bama County in Guangxi Autonomous Region is one of typical wellness destinations which have the image of health and longevity. Since Bama became famous in 2008, cancer patients are also attracted to Bama. Recently, Bama is criticized by the media as a cancer village with serious environmental pollution, rather than the primal longevity village. The “dark” side of the wellness tourism in this particular case brought pressures on the local residents, business stakeholders and other tourists. This study attempts to use the concept of darkness to understand Bama as a wellness place for cancer tourists. Qualitative methods including participant observation, nonparticipant observation, in-depth interviews were used to collect data. The study shows that the culture and the social structure related to the fatal diseases and health is the key factor leading the change of touristic therapeutic landscape of Bama.

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