The number of overseas tourists has been on the increase since the reform in China. During this period, there has been a distinct change in the status of urban Chinese destinations: new urban destinations have obviously attracted more overseas tourists; while the number of overseas tourists attracted to traditional ones have been decreasing. In the meantime, some cities tend to have either fewer overseas tourists or no obvious increase of overseas tourists. This paper explains the two reasons for the above change: one being the change in demand, the other being the transfer of the driving mechanism in urban tourism. The current research aims to analyze the latter reason. This paper uses Dalian, Shenzhen and Zhuhai as case studies to discuss the process and principles of the transfer of the driving force of urban tourism, and to testify the assumption this paper makes: that is, each urban destination has its own driving force mechanism, while the mechanisms can be different during different periods of development for the same destination. It is the transfer process of the driving force of the destination that changes the relative advantage of the urban destinations, which in turn causes the change in the relative status of the destinations. Accordingly, the paper concludes that the sustainable development of urban tourism depends on the change of its main driving force in response to it outside surrounding (mainly the change in the demand structure), so as to construct its new advantage before its earlier advantage is gone. Since the paper uses the number of incoming overseas tourists as the indicator, limitation of the study is unavoidable. Moreover, the three cities in the studies are all coastal ones, leaving room for further studies for its applicability.