Navigating the North: China’s tourism, Chinese tourists and Arctic geopolitics

Theme 2. Connectivity
Session Name 2.6 Tourism, mobilities and globalization in the Arctic
Presentation Type Oral
Presenter
Author(s) Roger Norum (University of Oulu, Finland), Jundan (Jasmine) Zhang (University of Umeå, Sweden)
Abstract text

In recent years, the emergence of geopolitical and commercial encounters between China and the European Arctic have centered largely around natural resources and land development. In its recently released China’s Arctic Policy White Paper, the Chinese state outlines its aims to participate in utilizing and developing Arctic resources, including shipping routes, energy resources, and fisheries – as well as tourism. Arctic states, meanwhile, are keen to receive various resources from China, not least commercial investment and incoming tourists. In this conceptual paper we investigate the everyday geopolitics of tourism encounters, focusing on tourists as carriers of geopolitical imaginations and enactors of geopolitics through their tourism performances. We consider the growing body of research on Chinese tourism in the Arctic, discussing in what ways these new encounters fit into the current geopolitical turn (Mostafanezhad, 2018) in tourism. We also discuss the ways in which geopolitics in the Arctic may influence Chinese tourism in both proactive and reactive ways.

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