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Published on : Sunday, November 10, 2013
HAIKOU — A statement issued during an ongoing forum in south China’s Hainan Province, which aims to deepen cooperation between tourism-dependent island economies, has stressed the importance of retaining local characteristics in the face of globalization of the island tourism industry.
The statement was jointly signed at the 17th Inter-Islands Tourism Policy Forum, scheduled to run from Nov.6 to 8 in Haikou City, capital of south China’s Hainan Province, by 11 island economies, including China’s Hainan, the Republic of Korea’s Jeju, Japan’s Okinawa, Indonesia’s Bali and Sweden’s Gotland.
The statement said that, with the deepening impact of globalization, economies have become more integrated and dependent upon each other. Island economies have to explore ways to integrate into the world economy while retaining their own features when formulating economic development strategies and plans.
“Culture is the soul of tourism and tourism the carrier of culture,” the statement said. “During the process of globalization, island economies need to vigorously develop the tourism industry while protecting the local culture, so as to lead economic restructuring in their own countries or regions.”
“Thanks to the development of communication technology and transportation systems, the world has become increasingly globalized and much closer,” said Seijun Wakugawa, director general at the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sports of Okinawa in Japan.
Globalization has brought more visitors to tourist destinations, but it also has prompted concerns that tourist resorts are becoming generic as their local characteristics are gradually lost, Wakugawa said.
Globalization has caused the wide spread of Western culture and “McDonaldization,” while local arts and culture are undergoing commoditization, said I Nyoman Darma Putra, professor at Udayana University in Indonesia.