Dr Antonio Barrento1
1School Of Arts And Humanities Of The University Of Lisbon, Portugal
During the 1920s and the 1930s, interest in tourism and tourist practice expanded in Republican China. In this context, ‘the Nanyang’, South Seas, emerged as a significant focal point in the tourism discourse, while it became the tourist destination of an affluent few. The China Travel Service played a crucial role in this respect, by promoting tourism to the Nanyang and providing related assistance to tourists from China. While examining in general terms the discourse and practice of outbound tourism to the Nanyang during China’s republican period, this presentation explores in particular the nationalist component of the tours. The Nanyang Chinese communities and the Chinese cultural elements in the region ranked high amongst the proposed and actual touristic attractions. In addition, in travel material the ‘tourist gaze’ was occasionally formatted by nationalist considerations. This was a manifestation of a broader reality. Nationalism permeated tourism, as can be particularly observed on the level of discourse. Tourist material related to the Nanyang that was produced during the occupation that followed the Second Sino-Japanese War reiterated these nationalist concerns. To a significant extent, touring abroad in the Nanyang was an expression of national anxiety and national assertion. In this sense, the nation was on tour.
António Barrento is an assistant professor at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon. He holds a Ph.D. in Chinese History from SOAS and master’s degrees in Asian Studies, Asian History and Japanese Language and Society. In terms of research, he has focused on the history of tourism in Modern China.