The Environmental Attitudes, Travel Motivations and Experience Evaluations of Tourists in China

Open Access
Chen, Mingyuan
Graduate Program:
Recreation and Parks
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
October 30, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Deborah Lee Kerstetter, Thesis Advisor
  • Ecotourism
  • China
  • Environmental attitude
  • travel motivation
  • evaluation
Researchers have argued that tourists who visit ecotourism destinations differ from tourists who visit non-ecotourism destinations in multiple ways, including their environmental attitudes, travel motivations, and evaluations of the destination. However, few have conducted studies with these two groups of tourists simultaneously. Thus, the purpose of this study was to contrast the environmental attitudes, travel motivations and evaluations of tourists visiting one ecotourism destination—Cangshanerhai Natural Reserve (CNR) in Dali, China—with those of tourists visiting one of three non-ecotourism destinations in China. An on-site survey and follow-up interviews were used to address the study purpose. The results revealed that tourists visiting ecotourism destinations are fairly similar to tourists visiting non-ecotourism destinations in terms of their environmental attitudes and ecotourism travel motivations. Tourists visiting ecotourism destinations do not universally possess favorable environmental attitudes and their travel motivations are diverse, including both ecotourism travel motivations and non-ecotourism travel motivations. In addition, they have favorable and unfavorable evaluations of the ecotourism destination. Local ecotourism operators should respond to these results by making more of an effort to protect the environment and culture associated with their destination, provide more environmental education to enhance tourists’ environmental attitudes, and provide a number of different ecotourism programs to arouse tourists’ ecotourism travel motivations.