The development of tourism induces changes in the social character of a destination. Tourism is a globalized business activity and thus presents growing challenges in terms of traditional social culture. With the continuous development of the tourism industry, traditional social culture has changed dramatically at many World Heritage sites (WHSs). Additionally, the growing dependence of many regions’ economies on the tourism industry has brought about an inexorable shift in the perception of many rural residents. These transformations include the impact of tourism development and its economic efficiency on inhabitants’ traditional values, lifestyles, and interpersonal relationship in ancient villages serving as WHSs. A qualitative analysis including participatory in-depth interviews was conducted to compare changes in the social culture induced by tourism development at the WHS comprising three ancient villages in China. Furthermore, a qualitative content analysis was chosen to examine the impact of tourism development on residents’ perceptions of changes in moral values. The results demonstrate that tourism development is the major catalyst for change in local residents’ moral values.