Urban China's Rural Fringe: Actors, Dimensions and Management Challenges
© 2016 Giulio Verdini, Yiwen Wang, Xiaonan Zhang and the contributors. The diversification of the functional uses of agricultural land has grown in importance since the concept of sustainable development became a matter of global concern before the turn of the new century. Multi-functionality of agricultural land often refers to the production of other goods, services or values in addition to crop and livestock, such as food security, leisure activities, recreational opportunities and cultural tourism (Daugstad et al. 2006). Arguably, rural tourism has been one of the most effective tools for diversifying economic activities and generating additional income for the rural community. It has played an important role in regenerating the declining economy of the countryside as a result of intensive global food trading (Sharpley and Vass 2006). While the term ‘rural tourism’ has been perceived and interpreted in various ways, ranging from general leisure activities to hands-on farming practice, it is the role of ‘cultural heritage’ in the current trend of rural tourism development that this research was set to explore.