Visitor Management at a Buddhist Sacred Site

Cora Un In Wong, Alison McIntosh, Chris Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


While there exists an abundant literature on the way religious sites deal with tourists, little has been written specifically on how Buddhist monasteries visited by large numbers of believers and nonbelievers strive to preserve their physical fabric and atmosphere of sanctity. This article describes and analyzes how the resident monastic orders of Pu-Tuo-Shan, China, protect their monasteries and nunneries and maintain their lifestyle of prayer and meditation while hosting nearly six million visitors a year. The findings, based on observation and grounded research methods, reveal the use of “soft” visitor management techniques inspired by the spirit of Buddhism. It is also found that the visitors are classified by the monks and nuns into three categories, one of which—not the tourists—is more problematic, namely the Xianke, or “incense burners.” It is concluded that currently these methods are effective, although growing numbers pose an increasing challenge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-687
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Travel Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Buddhism
  • Pu-Tuo-Shan
  • monastic community
  • visitor management


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