The overarching goal of the Leisure Experience Research Opportunity, a 3-day research project, was to provide insights into how resident, national and international visitors of Hangzhou experience some of the various leisure attractions of the city. The approach was explicitly a cross-cultural one, with an emphasis on the communalities and differences in experiences between national and international visitors from different continents and cultural backgrounds. 12 students participated in this project, from WL Centers of Excellences (WLCEs) but also from other universities, from Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Hungary.

The students were divided in groups and experienced a full-day visit to some of the prominent leisure attractions of the city of Hangzhou. During that day, they took extensive and detailed auto-ethnographical field notes about their experiences, by writing down what they experienced, by taking pictures, and by recording short videos of the highlights that they encountered. After that, individual experiences were shared with the rest of the groups, and six main themes were identified: Cultural experience through leisure; Leisure accessibility; Social connection; Outdoor leisure activities; Leisure and safety in Hangzhou, and Experiencing self-enhancement, self-fulfillment and time for yourself. The two research deliverables – a written report and a verbal presentation – were organized around these six themes.

The main findings of this 3-day research work were presented to representatives of Hangzhou Municipal Bureau of Commerce and Hangzhou Commerce and Tourism Group, who provided their support to make this project possible. Representatives of these institutions congratulated the students for their work and thanked them for their helpful recommendations.