Emerging Scholar Profile- Dr. Carol X. Zhang


  • Carol Zhang Senior Lecturer in Marketing, at Portsmouth Business School


Dr Carol Zhang is an early career researcher and senior lecturer at Portsmouth Business School, UK. She holds a PhD in tourism marketing, which was awarded in 2017 from the University of Surrey, UK. She published eight English and two Chinese peer-reviewed articles, including two papers in Annals of Tourism Research and another two in Tourism Management. Her principal research is national identity and tourism, which encompasses aspects such as politics of tourism, destination development and marketing. Her funded PhD thesis entitled “National myths and tourism marketing in postcolonial Chinese destinations” was supervised by Profs. Morgan, Tribe and Airey.

The study seeks to contribute specifically to understandings of contested national identity construction in postcolonial Chinese destinations as it contends that tourism marketing not merely reflects but also constructs the symbolic foundation of a nation: its national myths. It is found that Hong Kong’s and Macao’s imagined identities have been discursively built as both closer to and separate from China. This research topic was developed from Carol’s master thesis at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University supervised by Prof. McKercher. On the basis of the master thesis, Carol published an article entitled “Politics and tourism promotion: Hong Kong’s myth-making” with Dr. Patrick L’Espoir Decosta and Prof Bob McKercher in Annals of Tourism Research. With her passion for national identity research, Carol published another two papers.

One paper entitled “politics of memories: identity construction in museum” was published in Annals of Tourism Research. This paper was co-authored with Dr. Xiao Honggen, Prof. Nigel Morgan and Dr. Jack Ly. The other one explores cultural festivals and national identity celebration in the postcolonial Chinese context. It was co-authored with Dr. Lawrence Fong, Prof. Shina Li and Dr. Jack Ly and published in Tourism Management.  Currently, she has two working papers respectively exploring, neo-post colonialist tourism representation, and nationalism research in tourism.

In line with her main research interest, Carol also looks into the relationship between humour in tourism and identity formation in the UK. As a part of this focus, she has examined the ways humour works in the portrayal of Englishness to tourists participating in entertaining guided tours. She has co-authored with Prof. Philip Pearce and published this work in Tourism Recreation Research. To further this research, together with the co-author, Carol carries out a comparative study looking into humour and identity construction in Scottish and English castles in the UK. 

Passionate about Chinese ancient literature and past experience of being a free-lance novel and poem writer in mainland China, Carol has recent developed a research interest in Confucianism and Chinese tourism. In acknowledging Confucius conceptualisation of Chinese people being “interdependent”, Carol is working on two projects. One examines Chinese tourists’ reflection on and responses to the negative image portrayed by global media. In particular, the study found that the concept of “face” prompts Chinese tourists to adopt and promote pro-civilised behaviour. In collaboration with Prof. Philip Pearce and Dr. Guanghua Chen, the paper was recently published in Tourism Management. The other one links intrapreneurship literature with Chinese guanxi-based network to understand the latter’s influence on Chinese women managers in the tourism industry. She is also co-authoring with other Chinese scholars, including Prof. Wilco Chan on the topic of sustainability and cultural tourism in Higher Education Institutions. Those articles were published in Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, Journal of China Tourism Research, Journal of Convention and Event Tourism, and Economic Management Journal (in Chinese). 

Carol loves research methodology. Her principal footing is in qualitative research. Carol believes various methodologies can be used to approach tourism realities so as to reveal different angles. In her research, she has incorporated semiotic analysis, critical discourse analysis, visual elicitation, thematic analysis and narrative analysis. Carol hopes to write a paper on the qualitative research methodology in the near future. Additionally, Carol has also gained experience of applying quantitative analysis in research and consultancy projects when she worked as a research assistant in both University of Surrey and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Carol is actively engaged in a variety of academic initiatives. She was invited as a panel speaker on collaborative economy at Surrey Think Tank in Guildford in 2017 and on Chinese outbound tourism at Tourism Intelligence Forum in Majorca in 2018. She was invited to act as a reviewer for academic journals including Annals of Tourism Research, Tourism Management, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Destination Marketing and Management, Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, and Tourism Culture and Communication. She is a member of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN). She has coordinated for the 4th International Forum on China Hotel Brand Development in Hong Kong and in 2011. Carol’s work on Hong Kong’ image as a tourist destination is awarded the best paper at Asia Pacific Forum in 2012. Carol has frequently presented her work at international conferences to establish her academic identity and networks.

Currently, Carol sits at the Ethnic Committee and Research Method Committee of Faculty of Business and Law at University of Portsmouth. She is also one of the coordinators preparing the tourism marketing research cluster at the faculty. With the launching of the research cluster, the marketing subject group is going to organise the Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing and Management (AHTMM) conference July 2019 at University of Portsmouth.

Carol has been deeply interwoven with tourism industry. As a profession, she has worked for various tourism and hospitality related companies. As a traveller, she has been to over 40 different countries. In her free time, Carol enjoys landscape and portrait photographing, and of course, travelling. Her passion for travel and her curiosity to explore differences around the world make her a highly motivated and critical tourism scholar.




How to Cite

Zhang, C. (2019) “Emerging Scholar Profile- Dr. Carol X. Zhang”, e-Review of Tourism Research, 16(6). Available at: https://ertr-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/ertr/article/view/438 (Accessed: 23 September 2023).



Emerging Scholar Profiles