Title: The Dao of the sceptic and the spiritual: attitudinal and cultural influences on preferences for sustainable tourism services in the domestic Chinese tourism market

Authors: Jan Barkmann, Jiong Yan, Anne-Kathrin Zschiegner, Rainer Marggraf

Addresses: Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Platz der Gottinger Sieben 5, D-37073 Gottingen, Germany. ' Department of Environmental Science and Technology, Sichuan University, Nan Yi Duan No. 24, Yihuan Road, Chengdu, Sichuan Province 610065, P.R. China. ' Institute of Geography, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Goldschmidtstr. 5, D-37077 Gottingen, Germany; University of Exeter, School of Business and Economics, Streatham Court, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4PU, UK. ' Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-Universitat Gottingen, Platz der Gottinger Sieben 5, D-37073 Gottingen, Germany

Abstract: The study assesses Chinese tourist preferences for southwest China destination attributes – including the availability of sustainable tourism services (STS). Using the choice experiment method, the influence of attitudinal variables and of cultural values on preferences is also estimated. Data are collected from 213 middle class respondents in Beijing and Chengdu. STS is the only destination attribute which has no clear influence on destination choice. Factor analysis singled out two |positive| attitudinal dimensions (in favour of sustainability, concern for losing future opportunities) and one |negative| dimension (sceptical attitude on STS). Only the sceptical attitude on STS significantly influenced destination choice, and substantially reduced willingness-to-pay (WTP) for STS. Based on images of nature analysis of cultural values by factor analysis, robustness by divine designer and a non-spirituality dimension displayed substantial impacts on destination preferences. The less spiritual the images of nature of a Chinese middle class tourist, the less s/he prefers – and is willing to pay for – trips featuring more natural attractions and more STS.

Keywords: sustainable tourism; destination choice; images of nature; preferences; China; Dao; domestic tourism; cultural influences; choice experiment methods; attitudinal variables; cultural values; culture; middle classes; factor analysis; future opportunities; sceptical attitudes; willingness-to-pay; robustness; divine designer; non-spirituality dimensions; natural attractions; spiritual; scepticism; tourist preferences; tourists; sustainability; sustainable development; services management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2010.032083

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2010 Vol.13 No.3/4, pp.281 - 304

Available online: 09 Mar 2010 *

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