Recentering Tourism Geographies in the ‘Asian Century’

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Recreation, Tourism, and Sport Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Room: Maryland B, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Harng Luh Sin, Mary Mostafanezhad, Joseph Cheer
Chairs: Joseph Cheer


“The 19th century belonged to the United Kingdom, the 20th century to the United States. Many market experts and analysts now speculate that the 21st century will be remembered as the ‘Asian Century,’ dominated by rising superpowers such as Indonesia, India and China” (Holmes, 2017).

First coined in 1988 by Deng Xiaoping in a visit to India and meeting with then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, the term “Asian Century” has become a compelling characterization of 21st century. While academics debate the actualities of the so-called Asian Century, what is clear is that the cultural and political-economic climate in which tourism operates has transitioned along with broader political-economic and geopolitical shifts. From the British Century of the 1800s to the American Century of the 1900s to the contemporary Asian Century, tourism geographies are deeply entangled in broader shifts in geopolitical and geoeconomic power (Luce, 1999; Scott, 2008; Shenkar, 2006). The dynamism of the Asia-Pacific region demands recurrent reappraisal (Davison, 2017), especially regarding the ways in which it is affected by and affects global flows of culture, finance and politics. Tourism geographies reflect these flows in a particularly visible way, where tourists and the tourism industry are dramatically swept up in the swirl of geopolitical repositioning. This session addresses shifts characterized by the “Asian Century” through critically engaged and empirically rich accounts of tourism in the Asia-Pacific region. As new modes of tourism practice have proliferated, scholars have increasingly called into question continued Anglo-Western centrism in tourism theory. How does tuning in to the emergence of an Asian Century allow us to make the radical shifts as scholars to begin to incorporate new ways of interrogating contemporary tourism inclusive of epistemology and praxis. Advocating for a rethinking and reconfiguring of contemporary tourism discourses is aligned to the push for greater acknowledgement of the Asian Century, for as Lee, Hongling and Mignolo argue, the project “is both challenging and necessary, as it invites us to re-conceptualize the past (i.e. existing and hegemonic narratives of the past) in the present” (2015: 189). For tourism scholars, this is a clarion call to consider how the Asian Century might reshape global tourism geographies.


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Harng Luh Sin National University Of Singapore 10
Panelist Alan Lew Northern Arizona University 10
Panelist Tim Oakes University of Colorado 10
Panelist Kathie Carpenter 10
Panelist Sanjay Nepal University of Waterloo 10
Panelist Chris Gibson University of Wollongong 10
Discussant Xiaobo Su University of Oregon 10
Discussant Mary Mostafanezhad University of Hawai'i at Manoa 10

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