Home > News > Multi-dimensional Value Exploration of Tourism-Theme Museum Collections – Walking into the World Tourism Museum under Construction

Multi-dimensional Value Exploration of Tourism-Theme Museum Collections – Walking into the World Tourism Museum under Construction


The World Tourism Museum, located on the Yahushan Island, Xianghu Lake in Hangzhou, will become a large-scale comprehensive museum with the theme of tourism after its completion. It will also be an important part of the headquarters of the World Tourism Alliance (WTA), a comprehensive international tourism organization. The World Tourism Museum consists of the Hall of History, the Hall of World, the Hall of China, the Hall of Experience and the Hall of WTA Members, which will fully display the world tourism culture and tell the story of Chinese tourism to the world.

Collection is the soul of a museum, and also an important foundation for building and displaying the historical and cultural value of a museum. The collection of World Tourism Museum has always been an important part of preparations. With the generous help of WTA members and the enthusiastic citizens from all walks of life, the World Tourism Museum has collected a number of collections, covering ancient books, models, maps, passes, bills, facilities for travel and tourism crafts, etc. There are many collections with high collection and display value. The value of the collection collected by the World Tourism Museum can be explored from the following four aspects:

1.Reflection of Tourism’s Promotion of Cultural Exchanges between the East and the West

Since ancient times, travel has facilitated the flow of people and goods between different regions, further promoting cultural exchanges. A large part of the World Tourism Museum’s collection contains the historical information about the economic and cultural exchanges between the east and the west.

From the perspective of the west, the modern transportation innovation and economic leap resulting from the two industrial revolutions brought more western tourists to the mysterious land of the East, leaving a far-reaching chapter in the history of tourism. The collection of ancient English travel books from the 19th to the 20th century, such as Mysterious and Wonderful China and Overland to China, is a vivid record of the experiences and thoughts of western visitors to China and other eastern countries in different periods of modern times, recording the process of western people’s contact with eastern culture in the development of tourism.

From the perspective of the east, travel will bring more oriental aesthetics, crafts and culture to the west through the connection of the maritime and land silk roads. Among the collections of the museum, a European tortoiseshell folding fan painted with traveling scenes in the first half of the 19th century, reflects a history of blending oriental folding fan technology with western local themes.


2.Recording of Tourism History Promotion by Chinese and Foreign Travelers

Before the rise of mass tourism, the development of early Chinese and foreign tourism history was largely promoted by some famous travelers, who took the lead in taking steps toward the world and expanding people’s horizons into the distance.

The French edition of the General History of World Travel in 1820 is one of the few early works on the history of tourism. The author did extensive research on travel notes and described in detail the history of early Europeans exploring the world through travel. Some illustrations in the book had been collected by the British Museum. The Travels of Marco Polo is based on the oral records of Marco Polo, a famous Italian traveler in Venice in the 13th century. He once traveled to Central Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia and other places, introducing a lot of oriental customs and practices to the Europeans at that time. The Travels of Marco Polo in different periods and of various versions in the museum collection witnessed the popularity of Marco Polo’s stories in the world for hundreds of years, which has produced pioneering significance and sustained influence in the history of tourism.

There are also many scholars in Chinese history who have pushed the history of tourism forward. The Journey to Sichuan by Lu You and the Diary of a Boat Trip to Wu (Wuchuan Lu) by Fan Chengda in China’s Southern Song Dynasty are early travel notes in China, which record the scenes of ancient Chinese literati making a sightseeing tour. They are also important historical reference materials for the history of ancient Chinese tourism. These collections record how early European travelers, explorers and ancient Chinese scholars moved the culture and history of tourism forward from different places and for different purposes.

3.Reflection of the Development of International Tourism in Modern Times

The beginning and maturity of modern tourism gave birth to the tourism industry chain, and tourism, a social phenomenon, has been endowed with important economical efficiency. The “American Hotel and Inns Registration Certificate in 1920” is a Nebraska hotel incorporation document issued by the United States Department of Agriculture. The No. 2978 registration certificate witnessed the prosperity and development of tourism in Central America in the early 20th century. At the same time, China’s modern tourism gradually expanded from its inception stage. The historical objects of the first folk tour group Yousheng Tour Group in the period of the Republic of China and China’s first travel agency China Travel Service, the tickets of Nedlloyd Lines, and the historical objects of various travel agencies and hotels in the period of the Republic of China all indicate the origin of China’s modern tourism. Every bill and leaflet in the modern tourism collection of the World Tourism Museum contains the historical information in the development of modern tourism economy and culture, telling the history of modern tourism.

4.Witness of the Start and Development of China’s Tourism

Since the reform and opening up, the rapid development of China’s tourism has attracted worldwide attention. The story of China’s tourism has become an indispensable part of the world’s modern tourism. The collections in the World Tourism Museum that witness the growth of China’s modern tourism will leave a wonderful history for the future. Tourism Newsletter was founded by China National Tourism Administration in 1979. It was later renamed as Tourism News in 1981 and as China Tourism News in 1985. Today, it is the most authoritative national tourism newspaper in China. The one-volume edition of China Tourism News, a collection of all the newspapers published over the past 41 years since its inception in 1979, is the mark of the development of China’s tourism in the past 41 years and has irreplaceable literature value in the history of China’s tourism development. Oral History: 40 Years of China’s Tourism is a collection of wonderful stories about China’s tourism over the past 40 years from 1979 to 2019, compiled by the tourism oral history team of Beijing International Studies University through interviews with people who experienced or participated in historical events in the industry. The Tourism Green Paper from 2000 to 2020 was written by experts organized by the Tourism Research Center, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, providing descriptions of the development trends of tourism and the latest industry focus over the past 20 years. These archives, witnessing the development of China’s modern tourism and gathering together the struggle of China’s modern tourists, will show increasingly important cultural force in the future.

In this era of booming tourism, we need to look back at the past of tourism to explore the stories and culture behind it and connect the scattered historical evidences to form a network of the world tourism culture. In the future, visitors from all over the world will join the museum to explore more about the significance of tourism to human beings.