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Tourism and Hospitality Prospects  2018, Vol. 2 Issue (2): 27-39    DOI: 10.12054/lydk.bisu.62
Research Paper     
The Influence of Social Media on the Socialization of Chinese Tourists:An Analysis of Social Media Data
Jing WANG1, Li LI2
1. Tourism Department, School of Humanities, Ningxia University, Ningxia 750001, China
2. Bath Business School, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK BA29BN
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Social media(SM) plays an important role in tourism. It shapes how travellers make decision and change their pre-travel, during travel and post-travel behaviours. SM has also influenced tourism industry practice in the areas of marketing, sales and product development. How Chinese nationals engage with SM in tourism activities is under researched. There have been statistics reporting the usage of the Internet and ICT applications by Chinese nationals. However these statistics are simply descriptive parameters, and cannot provide in-depth insight into SM adoption for tourism in China. Therefore, this study explores the use of SM in tourism-related activities in China with the aim to understand the role of SM in China’s tourism sphere.The research focused on the use of three most popular SM websites, which were RenRen, Sina Weibo and Douban, in tourism-related activities in China.The exploratory research has identified that Chinese use SM to share information about, and personal evaluation of, destinations, tourism products, itineraries of travel, visa and currency exchange. The selected SM sites provide Chinese users a space for open communication and freely exchange of ideas, emotions and cognitive insights into travel, life and being. The technology also offers them a new way of socialising with each other. Renren and Donban in particular give Chinese bloggers a space to freely externalise their deep reflection on travel, life and being in the public domain. Through this process of knowledge transformation, a discursive discourse of tourism representation and understanding is created and re-created. Therefore, SM is more than just an information communication channel. It is a creator that enables the expansion of tourism boundary and a shaper that constantly shapes tourism as a human social conduct within that boundary. The paper argues that SM should not only be regarded as information communication channels, but also a creator and a shaper to forge what tourism is in the contemporary societies.

Key wordssocial media      Chinese tourists      socialization     
Received: 08 February 2017      Published: 20 April 2018
ZTFLH:  F59  
Cite this article:

Jing WANG, Li LI. The Influence of Social Media on the Socialization of Chinese Tourists:An Analysis of Social Media Data. Tourism and Hospitality Prospects, 2018, 2(2): 27-39.

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