How China manages this new influx of tourism will determine what effects it will have on the country and its people.
According to People's Daily (25 November 2002), Humen is a town located in south China in Guangdong Province with a population of over 700,000. In recent years, Humen has become the center of "a booming garment industry" (People's Daily 2002). Since 1996, The China Humen International Garment Trade Fair "has attracted the attention of garment enterprises from countries including the United States and France" (People's Daily 2002). Through the garment trade, Humen is growing economically, which means that, like other areas of China, they are improving their economies and receiving tourists. Humen will have to deal with many of the same questions and issues with which all of China must deal as tourism, industry, and trade continue to grow.
The socio-cultural and economic impact of growth and tourism in Humen and other areas of China are not separate issues. The two are, in fact, intertwined, and one affects the other. According to Andrew Watson (1999) in his paper presented to The Leadership Conference of Conservancy and Development, the issue of growth and development in all provinces in China must be viewed from both the economic and cultural contexts. Watson (1999) feels that some of the policies of the government in China have been favorable to economic development. As economic life improves in China, so will cultural life, as some of the regional disparities between provinces begin to disappear. On the other hand, Oakes (2000) warns that rather than alleviate some regional rivalries, economic development and tourism could lead to regionalism in some of the provinces. His belief is that places like Humen may "scale up" more local, place-based identities creating even more "provincial culture" (Oakes 2000, p. 669). The danger here is that the efforts of one area to increase its economy and attractiveness as a tourist destination will undermine cooperation between provinces. In addition, he says, " 'local' and the 'regional' are now regarded as more salient scales for asserting cultural identity than the nation-state" (Oakes 2000, p. 670). In many ways, it would no longer be the government of China identifying what is "Chinese," but it would be the individual provinces creating their own separate cultural identity.
Places like Humen, which has developed its economy through the garment industry, have also become attractive to tourists and business visitors. One of the things that people find when they visit Humen, as well as other provinces in China, is that its "cultural heritage is a resource, an asset" (Zheng 2000). When visitors discover the cultural richness of Humen and the other towns and provinces in China, these areas become tourist destinations. While this is good for the economy, it creates other difficulties for the local and national governments.
Trevor and Li (1998) have examined both the positive and negative effects of the increase in tourism in China from international, national, and provincial perspectives. According to the study they have done, Trevor and Li (1998) note that in order for these areas to remain desirable to tourists, it will be the responsibility of the Chinese government to make certain that the