The geopolitics of outbound travel: Theorizing outgoing tourism as state strategy

Gregory Fayard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


There has been a general bias in tourism research toward the politics of the destination country, neglecting the theoretical importance of state policies at source countries in influencing tourism flows. In most studies of international travel, political action is essentially ensconced on the destination side, as governments and other authorities, competing in broader markets, attempt to make destinations attractive for potential visitors. Overlooked is the fact that source states influence tourist routes and behavior, changing the volume, composition, timing, and targets of foreign travel. In redressing these gaps, this paper will present a theory of outgoing travel from a nation-state perspective. I present a typology of theoretical connections between regulating outgoing travel and state strategies of domestic legitimation and foreign policy. Finally, I use this theoretical framework to investigate the specific case of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to determine to what degree the Chinese central state makes use of outgoing tourism to achieve policy objectives.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Politics and Space
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Nov 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • foreign policy
  • mobility control
  • nation-state
  • Outbound tourism


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