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《Tourism Tribune》 2019-07
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Study of the Creative Destruction Model and Tourism in Historic Towns:Based on the Case of Wuzhen

ZHENG Yanfen;WANG Hua;Department of Tourism Management, Management School, Jinan University;  
Historic towns are important to China. s cultural heritage. They are enjoyed by Chinese people and an increase in popularity in recent years has attracted public funds and private capital into the tourism industry. This has resulted in tourism commodification and has caused a series of problems within the towns, such as a reduction in cultural authenticity and identity. Mitchell(1998, 2009) has developed a creative destruction model to predict the developmental path of destination commodification. The model is divided into a six-stage process: pre-commodification; early commodification; advanced commodification; early destruction; advanced destruction; and post-destruction. This paper applies the creative destruction model to Wuzhen, a historic town in Zhejiang, China, which has developed into a world-famous tourist destination. It aims to examine whether the model is suitable to describe the commodification characteristics and developmental revolution of Wuzhen using secondary data collected from network media. The paper reveals that Wuzhen has evolved from the precommodification stage to post-destruction stage, but has bypassed the second stage of early commodification. The stages of early destruction and advanced destruction were rather short and difficult to distinguish. The paper explains that Wuzhen has experienced a rapid creative destruction process under the coordinated powers of government, innovation(or entrepreneurship), capital and even some cultural conservationists. The creative destruction model proposed by Mitchell does not provide an adequate explanation for why and how the destination has developed so significantly. It also neglects the finding that the phenomenon of creative destruction occurs within both historic and industrial destinations within the heritage tourism industry. Therefore, this paper proposes a modified model of tourism creative destruction to be applied to historic towns, particularly those imitating or following the"Wuzhen Model"in China. The modified model separates the entities and supporting entities of creative destruction. It suggests that the innovative elites or entrepreneurs and their teams are the protagonists of creative destruction, that they play a major role in the creative destruction of a destination, and that they are facilitated by supporting entities like government, capital and cultural conservationists. The model redefines the driving forces of creative destruction in historic towns,including the need for heritage protection and development, the pursuit of profit by innovators,entrepreneurs and capital, tourism market demand and competition for tourists. Particularly, the model puts forward the main processes of creative destruction, including heritage protection and development,destination operation and management, and destination product innovation. It reveals that any innovation of these three aspects may have a prominent effect on the development of a historic town,and even promote a leap forward in the development of a destination, such as in the case of Wuzhen.Finally, the paper indicates that the creative destruction of Wuzhen is based on the development of other historic towns, and conversely, its development is promoting the creative destruction process of other historic towns and thus the tourism industry. This should encourage interest in the creative destruction model and tourism in historic towns.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金项目“旅游影响下乡村社会空间生产的机制与模式研究”(41871132);; 教育部人文社会科学研究规划基金项目“旅游影响下乡村社会空间生产:过程、机制与模式研究”(18YJA790077);; 国家旅游局2017年度万名旅游英才计划基金项目“古镇文化遗产保护与旅游利用中的创造性破坏与地方性重构——以开平市赤坎古镇为例”(WMYC20171008)共同资助~~
【CateGory Index】: F592.7
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