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A kaleidoscope of tourism research:

Insights from the International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT)

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Edited By Michael Lück and Claire Liu

The International Competence Network of Tourism Research and Education (ICNT) covers a wide range of research expertise in the fields of tourism, hospitality and events management. ICNT’s sixth book showcases a kaleidoscope of tourism and hospitality topics, ranging from tourism education to sustainable tourism, wildlife tourism, Brexit and tourism, and to travel intermediation, tourist motivation and experiences. The book explains the way tourism and hospitality are understood in different countries around the world. Consequently, this book stimulates thought and discussion on tourist experiences and management, from the viewpoint of various stakeholders. It provides a wealth of new knowledge and will be a valuable resource for students, academics, researchers and industry members alike.

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It is mostly about money- discussions related to the political decision-making resulting in giant pandas moving into Ähtäri Zoo

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Eva Holmberg

Animals and their role in tourism have been discussed rather extensively, from cloning animals for tourism (Wright, 2018), human-animal relationships (Markwell, 2015), animal welfare (Hughes, 2001), zoos (Frost, 2010) all the way to how animals in general can be used in tourism (Äijälä, Carcia-Rosell & Haanpää, 2016). The importance of animal welfare is an issue that has been raised above the others, especially by Fennell (2015; 2012). Maybe somewhat surprisingly, very few studies have focused on giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) being borrowed from China for becoming tourism attractions in countries chosen by the Chinese government.

The giant panda is well known for its cuteness as well as being a symbol for the World Wildlife Fund. The giant panda was close to extinction some decades ago, but in 2016 the status of the panda was downgraded by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), from endangered to vulnerable, i.e. the work to save the species has been successful. Pandas were used for instance in social media by the Chinese government to improve its image, but some selected countries have also been honoured by receiving pandas for a certain amount of time (Anderlini, 2017). For centuries Chinese leaders have used pandas as a tool for enhancing its international relationships, a strategy which has been called panda diplomacy (Szczudlik, 2017). It is though not only the Chinese government using pandas for policy making, when a country accepts the pandas the bears become a political issue...

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