Tourism as an Instrument of Cultural De-bordering and Economic Connectivity: The Case of Macau

Tourism as an Instrument of Cultural De-bordering and Economic Connectivity: The Case of Macau

Francisco José Leandro (City University of Macau, Macao)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5053-3.ch009
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Abstract

Since the retrocession of Macau to the People's Republic of China (hereafter referred to as China) in 1999, the territory has strengthened interpersonal relations related to trade and commercial engagement between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries (PSC). Moreover, the tourism industry has served as a catalyst in promoting human social capital, technology transfer, and economic security. Therefore, the main research question stands as follows: to what extent has the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) of the People's Republic of China delivered a sustainable contribution to the relations between China and PSC, using the tourism industry as apparatuses of cultural and economic de-bordering? The author argues in favour of a positive correlation between the role of MSAR and the tourism industry as an instrument of economic advancement. Moreover, China's Belt and Road initiative has put forward new opportunities to MSAR, based on the concept of people-to-people (P2P) exchange and the physical integration into the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
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Introduction

Tourism and cultural industries are long-term promoters of human social capital and enhancers of human skills. They have been regarded as important contributors to development, employment, economic security, intercultural knowledge and social peace. Likewise, the policies associated with tourism industries are leading instruments of cultural de-bordering, as they hold the potential to contribute to multiculturalism, and as they constitute the first encouraging step towards interculturalism. In this line of reasoning, the author sees education, development, economic security, and interculturalism as the foundation stones of peace transitions, democratic transitions, peacebuilding processes and conflict termination. Tourism development, as part of the Nation-building processes, can sometimes be a foundation stone of peace transitions as well.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO, 2020) asserts that in relation to the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda, tourism has the potential to contribute, directly or indirectly, to all goals. In particular, it has been included as targets in Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), and SDG 14 (life below water). The first two goals apply directly to the case of Macau (China). “Tourism is one of the driving forces of global economic growth and currently provides for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. By giving access to decent work opportunities in the tourism sector, society - particularly youth and women - can benefit from increased skills and professional development” (UNWTO, 2020). Indeed, in the Macau Special Administrative Region (MSAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), tourism, when associated with gambling, is a sector that generates more employment opportunities in the territory. In relation to responsible consumption and production, the tourism sector in MSAR has also adopted sustainability as an important reference point, in terms of planning and conducting operations. In addition, as recommended by the UN, MSAR believes that a well-trained and skilful workforce is crucial for tourism to prosper. “Tourism provides incentives to invest in education and vocational training and assist labour mobility through cross-border agreements on qualifications, standards and certifications” (UNWTO, 2020). Foremost, MSAR tourism-related policies are in line with SDG 16 and 17, as they believe that tourism promotes encounters between people of diverse cultural backgrounds, and therefore, the sector can foster multicultural and interfaith tolerance and understanding. Moreover, MSAR sees tourism as cross-sectorial, and that tourism has the ability to strengthen private/public partnerships and to engage multiple stakeholders. These two ideas (tourism as a promoter of multiculturalism and as a strengthener of business partnerships) are seen as anchors behind this chapter.

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