WSU Carson College of Business Professor Christina Chi has spent more than a decade collaborating on tourism research with academics in China, where a growing middle class is fueling demand for leisure travel.

Chi’s contributions to the field were recently recognized by the International Association for China Tourism Studies (IACTS), which has named her as a fellow. The association’s 31 fellows represent scholars at research institutions worldwide.

“It’s very selective, so this is a great honor. I’m humbled and excited,” said Chi, a professor of hospitality business management.

Chi has worked with Chinese researchers to publish dozens of studies in top-tier hospitality and tourism journals. She studies destination loyalty and tourists’ level of satisfaction with their experience. Her research also delves into sustainability and social responsibility in tourism development at UNESCO World Heritage sites and fragile natural areas.

China has 55 world heritage sites, recognizing important cultural and natural areas. “With the county’s huge population, the well-known destinations are very crowded,” Chi said.

The crowds affect the tourists’ experience as well as the protected resource.

Two pandas sitting amongst the trees.
Professor Christina Chi’s research delves into sustainable development in Chinese tourism.

“China is now taking measures to limit development in national parks, while local governments are eager for the revenue from tourism development,” Chi said. “The scholars I work with are concerned about sustainable development, the responsibilities of stakeholders and the well-being of local residents.”

Chi also works with visiting Chinese scholars at Washington State University who want to get their research published in top English language academic journals. The collaborative efforts help expand the audience for their work while enhancing WSU’s reputation and geographic reach, she said.

IACTS is an international academic association focused on the growing importance of Chinese tourism research and its contribution to worldwide tourism scholarship.