SHIEN ZHONG*, JIE ZHANG*& XIANG (ROBERT) LI**
*Department of Land Resource and Tourism, School of Geography, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
**School of Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management, University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA
Conventional directional bias is unable to identify the interactions and relationships between emitted tourist flows and attracted tourist flows, while arguably contradicting the actual emitting/attracting functions for any region, especially in systematic analysis. A newly coined FTR (Functional Tourism Region) based on a regional perspective and a new directional bias derived from conceptual, geographical and technical contexts are proposed. This paper proposes that the new directional bias is defined in terms of two characteristics. The first is the pointing of tourist flow as well as its pointing types, and the second is the inertial state of pointing. Pointing types are classified into three basic types: city-pointing, seaside-pointing and sun-lust-pointing. A case study of Chinese rural residents’ domestic overnight travel pattern demonstrates that the new definition of directional bias may yield useful qualitative and quantitative information. Results indicate that city-pointing and seaside-pointing constitute the main pattern, while sun-lust-pointing increasingly contributes to the evolution of the whole tourist flow system. Increasing regional disparity is also detected in that China's eastern economic belt continuously enjoys tourism profits. Finally, it is postulated that the new directional bias of tourist flow can also be applied to other non-work flows that also have origins and destinations.