Searching for prestige: motivations and managerial implications of Chinese campus tourists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While changes in society continue to inform understandings of what leisure is and how it manifests itself, the emergence of Chinese outbound tourists, with specific motivations, travel styles and leisure choices are having powerful impacts on multiple host destinations. While university campuses have long been marked as visitor attractions in China, this study explores the motivations and implications of outbound Chinese tourists visiting university campuses abroad for leisure. On site qualitative interviews took place with 25 fully independent Chinese tourists at three campuses in Seoul, South Korea and a campus in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The study results found that Chinese visitors mark specific university campuses as attractions and are motivated to visit because of their prestige, by novelty and exploration, emotion and nostalgia and learning and knowledge seeking. This study argues that campus tourism may be difficult to develop and manage as a well-defined product that meets the needs of Chinese tourists, university governors and university stakeholders. The study explores the implications for universities and recommends universities begin a critical evaluation of prestige markers and especially those markers present in the Chinese cultural, pop-culture and (social) media context, which may be counterproductive to the primary mission of universities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-878
Number of pages17
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number6
Early online date18 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • chinese outbound tourism
  • visitor management
  • university campus tourism
  • Motivations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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