Heritage tours and trails on foot in Hong Kong: towards a typology that crosses the tourist-local divide

Lachlan B. Barber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong's retrocession to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 initiated intense interest in cultural heritage on the part of divergently positioned actors, including activists, the state, and entrepreneurs. Heritage walking tours have proliferated, providing a wide range of examples suitable for comparison. This article develops a typology of heritage trails and tours in order to consider how they are situated in relation to the tourist economy and local context. Theoretically it builds on insights in new walking studies and debates in tourism and heritage studies on the ‘tourist-local divide.’ The article relies on qualitative research conducted in Hong Kong, including participant observation and interviews, and a review of various secondary sources. The typology distinguishes between government-generated, market-oriented, and community-based heritage walks. Three key issues are discussed: the ways that tours and trails develop, how they engage with official and unofficial heritage places, and how they reference urban issues including state-led urban renewal and redevelopment. The article argues that, while walking in general is a format that is suited to both tourist and local visitor engagement, some trails and tours reinforce dominant narratives of heritage and urban space, while others challenge them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Scopus Subject Areas

  • History
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • cultural tourism
  • Hong Kong
  • mobilities
  • Urban heritage
  • walking


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