A Confucian Analysis of Chinese Tourists' Motivations

Xiaoxiao Fu, University of Central Florida
Liping A. Cai
Xinran Lehto


Studies to date of Chinese tourists as new consumers in the travel marketplace have been largely framed in the context of Western theories. This study initiates a qualitative inquiry to develop a conceptual framework for understanding Chinese tourists’ motivations. The study is informed by Confucian doctrines and extant motivation theories, and substantiated by empirical findings from 79 in-depth interviews. Seen from the perspective of Confucianism, the framework illustrates that the motivations of Chinese tourists arise as a result of the gaps between the Way (the ideal end-state) and ways (the actual state). Tourism is a functional means to bridging multiple gaps perceived in inner as well as outer cultivation. Four conceptual themes are examined as propositions from the framework.