Tourism area development from an evolutionary economic geography perspective — The case of Guilin, China
The dissertation is concerned with the emergence, rise and decline of tourism area development from an evolutionary economic geography perspective. In particular, two concepts derived from evolutionary economic geography, namely path dependence and coevolution are argued to bring the debate around the literature of tourism area life cycle substantially forward. In this respect, I develop two alternative theoretical models for analyzing and explaining tourism area evolution, namely an alternative path dependence model and a coevolutionary framework of tourism areas. To further test the validity and utility of the two proposed models, I apply the two theoretical frameworks to a case study of a tourism destination, Guilin, China. The case research reveals that Guilin has experienced path preformation, path creation, lock-in and a new turn of path creation phases of tourism area development. The interaction and coevolution of tourism products, sectors and institutional environments suggest that external environments, policy changes and product innovation are the main coevolutionary mechanisms for tourism development in Guilin over time.