This chapter starts by proposing several research questions about the role of tourism and tourists play at Chinese World Heritage sites. It then illustrates the research background, book statement, research methods and structure of the book. The chapter highlights the key argument of the book – that tourists have agency. When they visit heritage sites, they are not simply ‘touring’, but are doing ‘cultural, social and emotional work’, displaying an active feel for the sites, and remembering and negotiating cultural meanings. There is a complex local–tourist dialogue which constructed the ‘cultural moments’ at the case study sites. Locals gain pride, self-esteem and contentment through a process of sharing and communicating the values of the sites to domestic tourists. In some cases, a sense of contentment emerged from both locals and tourists when they feel that bonds have been established with each other, no matter how fleeting or impermanent these bonds may be. This is particularly expressed when locals were able to participate in local tourism operations. This suggests that, to some Chinese people, the meaning of heritage is a social and emotional process of feeling and emotional engagement, as well as a dialogue between past and present, and communication between personal internal worlds and the outside world, constructed by the interplay of locals, tourists and official management. The book contributes to debates about the nature of heritage meaning-making, with particular regards to ongoing debates about heritage performances, the importance of emotions and the agency of tourists.