Title: Chinese university students' perceptions of ecotourism

Authors: Ming Ming Su; Geoffrey Wall

Addresses: School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, 59 ZhongGuanCun Dajie, Haidian District, Beijing 100872, China ' Department of Geography and Environmental Management, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada

Abstract: The concept and practices of ecotourism have been widely discussed since the term was created. Current understanding of ecotourism has been primarily rooted in western ideology and values. When transported to a different culture, equivalency of meaning is difficult to establish. With a growing interest in ecotourism research and practices in China, scholars have argued that the concept of ecotourism has distinctive connotations in China. Using a questionnaire survey and focus group discussions with university students, it is shown that while an emphasis on natural environments and respect for their use is widely accepted, Chinese informants assigned greater importance to culture, were more inclined to reject a dualism between humans and nature, and gave more priority to health outcomes than is common in the west. On the other hand, they were more tolerant of mass use and were less likely to recognise the need for local benefits and empowerment. This study generates valuable insights on the future development of ecotourism in China.

Keywords: ecotourism; perception; mixed methods; university students; China.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2018.093345

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2018 Vol.24 No.4, pp.356 - 373

Available online: 14 Jun 2018 *

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