Cultural or Film Tourism? An analysis comparing Hobbiton (New Zealand) and Daguanyuan (China)

Xiaoyu (Nancy) Zhang | Chris Ryan
Received Date: 2021-11-05 | Publication Date: 2022-02-25


The study compares two destinations associated with literature and films. These are Daguanyuan in Beijing, China, and Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand. Both have proven to be enduring tourist attractions. Both are based on popular novels, namely Dream of the Red Mansions and The Lord of the Rings respectively. Both novels have attracted large audiences for television series or films. The question examined in the paper is whether, while both sites reflect different cultures, do they represent a form of tourism described in Asian academic literature as “contents tourism”. The study finds similarities in the reasons given for visits by tourists, which gives credence to concepts of a cosmopolitan or global culture, but context is thought to be important. The study explores the notion of “contents tourism” but concludes that this may only apply to specific circumstances and to highly committed “fans” (as in Otaku pilgrimage), and there is not yet a need to abandon older notions of “film tourism”.

Keywords: Contents tourism, film tourism, globalization, interpretation, culture.

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