With the emergence of the concept of cultural routes, researchers have increasingly turned their attention to the sustainable development of tourism along cultural routes. The needs for community participation and the ongoing provision of benefits of stakeholders are characteristics of cultural routes. Therefore, the importance of cooperative relations and systematic development among stakeholders in tourism activities along cultural routes has become a subject of interest. This paper selects local government, tourism enterprises and local community residents, all of which play a key role in the Ancient Tea Horse Road cultural route in the south of Yunnan, as the main stakeholders. We use game theory to construct a model to trace interactions between local government and tourism enterprises, between tourism enterprises and community residents, and between local government and community residents. The paper then analyzes the different interests of the three parties and key factors that influence them in the game process. This provided a certain scientific basis for the win-win decisions regarding tourism development made by the three parties. Our results show that the final decision choices of the three parties depend on the initial payoff matrix of the game, and the influence of key parameters. When making decisions about tourism, the government should respect the wishes of local residents, strengthen protections of local traditions, manage the unreasonable behavior of tourism enterprises as they develop tourism, and develop appropriate penalties for violations of regulations. When tourism enterprises carry out tourism development, they should let community residents take the initiative and fully participate in tourism activities, and be sure that income from tourism is fed back to local residents, to ensure that tourism is mutually beneficial. The study shows that conflicts among the three parties originated mainly from differences in interests, but that the three parties also shared common interests. With a goal of coordinating interests, we can establish relevant mechanisms, follow the principle of interest realization, attach importance to supervision and management, strengthen community participation and decision-making, and realize win-win results for the three parties.
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