# The Regime of Rural Ecotourism Stakeholders in Poverty-Stricken Areas of China: Implications for Rural Revitalization

^{1}

^{2}

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## Abstract

**:**

## 1. Introduction

## 2. Literature Review

## 3. Model Building and Analysis

#### 3.1. Analysis of the Interest Issues of Each Stakeholder

- (1)
- The game between government and tourism enterprises

- (2)
- The game between government and local residents

- (3)
- The game between tourism enterprises and local residents

#### 3.2. Basic Game Hypothesis and Model Construction

**Hypothesis**

**1**

**(H1).**

**Hypothesis**

**2**

**(H2).**

_{1}. And when the local residents actively participate, the total return of the project is E

_{1}; when the local residents passively participate, the total return of the project is E

_{2}. If the tourism enterprise adopts the strategy of “spuriously rural ecotourism”, then the total input of the enterprise is F

_{2}, and the total revenue of the project is E

_{3}when the local residents actively participate, and the total revenue of the project is E

_{4}when the local residents negatively participate. (F

_{2}< F

_{1})). The tourism enterprise that adopts substantial behavior will receive good comments from local residents and others, which will have a good impact on the enterprise’s image and enhance its social image, and these additional benefits will be recorded as $I$.

**Hypothesis**

**3**

**(H3).**

_{1}regardless of whether government regulation is in place. When a tourism enterprisespuriously conducts rural ecotourism, the tourism enterprise will pay dividends according to the interest rate of μ

_{2}if the government strictly regulates it, and if the government formally regulates it, then the tourism enterprise will K

_{2}< K

_{1}) (to simplify the formula, the labor costs of local residents are not taken into account).

**Hypothesis**

**4**

**(H4).**

**Hypothesis**

**5**

**(H5).**

_{1}indicating the publicity cost of the government with strict regulation and C

_{2}indicating the publicity cost of the government with formal regulation (C

_{2}< C

_{1}). The local residents who actively participate in the policy will take the initiative to understand the policy.Due to the different promotion and publicity efforts of the government and the different understanding ability of the local residents, the increased benefits of the local residents are different. α

_{1}and α

_{2}denote the publicity efforts of the government with strict regulation and formal regulation, respectively. β indicates the ability of local residents to understand the policy. The increase in benefits for local residents who actively participate under strict government regulation is indicated by α

_{1}βP, while the increase in benefits for local residents who actively participate under formal government regulation is indicated by α

_{2}βP. Negatively participating local residents do not actively seek to understand the policy and therefore do not increase their benefits.

**Hypothesis**

**6**

**(H6).**

_{1}is the financial support of government with strict regulation to tourism enterprises, i.e., government subsidies.H

_{2}is the financial support of government with formal regulation to tourism enterprises (H

_{2}< H

_{1}).

**Hypothesis**

**7**

**(H7).**

_{3}is the cost of monitoring of government with strict regulation, R is the praise reward given by the government to enterprises that substantially conduct rural ecotourism. The government will recover the financial subsidy and impose penalties on enterprises that adoptspurious practices. R is the fine imposed by the government on tourism enterprises that adoptspurious practices,λ is the probability of being detected by the government when tourism enterprisesspuriously conduct rural ecotourism, andM indicates the reward that the government will give to the residents who actively participate.

**Hypothesis**

**8**

**(H8).**

#### 3.3. Analysis of Evolution Game Model of Rural Ecotourism

#### 3.3.1. Expected Return Function of Stakeholders in Rural Ecotourism

- (1)
- Equilibrium analysis of tourism enterprises

- (2)
- Equilibrium analysis of local residents

- (3)
- Equilibrium analysis of the government

#### 3.3.2. Analysis of the Evolutionary Stabilization Strategy of Rural Ecotourism Stakeholders

- (1)
- Analysis of the replication dynamics of tourism companies

- ①
- When $z=\frac{y\left({E}_{2}+{E}_{3}-{E}_{1}-{E}_{4}+{K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+\left({F}_{1}-{F}_{2}+{E}_{4}-{E}_{2}-I+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W}$, the equation $F(x)=0$ holds constant, which means that all levels are steady state, at which time the probability of strategy choice of tourism companies does not change over time.
- ②
- When $z\ne \frac{y\left({E}_{2}+{E}_{3}-{E}_{1}-{E}_{4}+{K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+\left({F}_{1}-{F}_{2}+{E}_{4}-{E}_{2}-I+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W}$, let $F(x)=0$, and $x=0$,$x=1$ are two stable points. Derivative of $F(x)$ gives: ${F}^{\prime}\left(x\right)=\left(1-2x\right)\left[y\left({E}_{1}-{E}_{2}-{E}_{3}+{E}_{4}-{K}_{1}+{K}_{2}\right)+z\left(R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)+\left({F}_{2}-{F}_{1}+{E}_{2}-{E}_{4}+I-{\mu}_{1}W+{\mu}_{2}W\right)\right]$ Due to $R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W>0$, two scenarios can be discussed.
- (i)
- When ${E}_{1}-{E}_{2}-{E}_{3}+{E}_{4}-{K}_{1}+{K}_{2}>0$ and ${F}_{2}-{F}_{1}+{E}_{2}-{E}_{4}+I-{\mu}_{1}W+{\mu}_{2}W>0$,${F}^{\prime}\left(1\right)<0$ and ${F}^{\prime}\left(0\right)>0$. Then $x=1$ is a stabilization strategy, and tourism companies will choose substantial rural ecotourism.
- (ii)
- When the above conditions are not met, the following two cases are classified. When $z>\frac{y\left({E}_{2}+{E}_{3}-{E}_{1}-{E}_{4}+{K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+\left({F}_{1}-{F}_{2}+{E}_{4}-{E}_{2}-I+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W}$, it can be concluded that ${F}^{\prime}\left(1\right)<0$ and ${F}^{\prime}\left(0\right)>0$. Then $x=1$ is a stabilization strategy, and tourism companies will choose substantial rural ecotourism. When $z<\frac{y\left({E}_{2}+{E}_{3}-{E}_{1}-{E}_{4}+{K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+\left({F}_{1}-{F}_{2}+{E}_{4}-{E}_{2}-I+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W}$, it can be concluded that ${F}^{\prime}\left(0\right)<0$ and ${F}^{\prime}\left(1\right)>0$. Then $x=0$ is a stabilization strategy, and tourism companies will choose spurious rural ecotourism.

- (2)
- Analysis of the replication dynamics of local residents

- ①
- When $z=\frac{x\left({K}_{2}-{K}_{1}\right)+N-{K}_{2}-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P}{{\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M}$, the equation $G(y)=0$ holds constant, which means that all levels are steady state, at which time the probability of strategy choice of local residents does not change over time.
- ②
- When $z\ne \frac{x\left({K}_{2}-{K}_{1}\right)+N-{K}_{2}-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P}{{\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M}$, let $G(y)=0$, and $y=0$ and $y=1$ are two stable points. Derivative of $G(y)$ gives: ${G}^{\prime}\left(y\right)=\left(1-2y\right)\left[x\left({K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+z\left({\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M\right)+{K}_{2}+{\alpha}_{2}\beta P-N\right]$.Due to ${\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M>0$ and ${K}_{1}-{K}_{2}>0$, two scenarios can be discussed.
- (i)
- When ${K}_{2}+{\alpha}_{2}\beta P-N>0$, it can be concluded that ${G}^{\prime}\left(1\right)<0$ and ${G}^{\prime}\left(0\right)>0$. Then $y=1$ is a stabilization strategy, and local residents will choose active participation.
- (ii)
- When the above conditions are not met, the following two cases are classified. When $z>\frac{x\left({K}_{2}-{K}_{1}\right)+N-{K}_{2}-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P}{{\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M}$, it can be concluded that ${G}^{\prime}\left(1\right)<0$ and ${G}^{\prime}\left(0\right)>0$. Then $y=1$ is a stabilization strategy, and local residents will choose active participation. When $z<\frac{x\left({K}_{2}-{K}_{1}\right)+N-{K}_{2}-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P}{{\alpha}_{1}\beta P-{\alpha}_{2}\beta P+M}$, it can be concluded that ${G}^{\prime}\left(0\right)<0$ and ${G}^{\prime}\left(1\right)>0$. Then $y=0$ is a stabilization strategy, and local residents will choose negative participation.

- (3)
- Analysis of the replication dynamics of the government

- ①
- When $x=\frac{-yM+{C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G}$, the equation $H(z)=0$ holds constant, which means that all levels are steady state, at which time the probability of strategy choice of the government does not change over time.
- ②
- When $x\ne \frac{-yM+{C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G}$, let $H(z)=0$, and $z=0$ an $z=1$ are two stable points. Derivative of $H(z)$ gives: ${H}^{\prime}\left(z\right)=\left(1-2z\right)\left[-x\left(R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G\right)-yM+{C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T\right]$.Due to $R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G>0$, two scenarios can be discussed.
- (i)
- When ${C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T<0$, it can be concluded that ${H}^{\prime}\left(0\right)<0$ and ${H}^{\prime}\left(1\right)>0$. Then $z=0$ is a stabilization strategy, and the government will choose formal regulation.
- (ii)
- When the above conditions are not met, the following two cases are classified. When $x>\frac{-yM+{C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G}$, it can be concluded that ${H}^{\prime}\left(0\right)<0$ and ${H}^{\prime}\left(1\right)>0$. Then $z=0$ is a stabilization strategy, and the government will choose formal regulation. When $x<\frac{-yM+{C}_{2}-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+{H}_{2}+\lambda G+T}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G}$, it can be concluded that ${H}^{\prime}\left(1\right)<0$ and ${H}^{\prime}\left(0\right)>0$. Then $z=1$ is a stabilization strategy, and the government will choose strict regulation.

_{1}− K

_{2}), (F

_{1}− F

_{2}) and (μ

_{1}− μ

_{2}), and the larger the value of I, the greater the probability that the above inequality holds will be. Therefore, when tourism companies substantially conduct rural ecotourism with less bonuses and dividends to local residents, the total investment in substantially conducting rural ecotourism is less, and the additional benefits such as the improvement of social image obtained due to substantially conducting rural ecotourism are higher, it is conducive to prompt tourism companies to choose the strategy of substantially conducting rural ecotourism. When E

_{1}− E

_{2}− E

_{3}+ E

_{4}− K

_{1}+ K

_{2}< 0 or F

_{2}− F

_{1}+ E

_{2}− E

_{4}+ I − μ

_{1}W + μ

_{2}W < 0, then $z>\frac{y\left({E}_{2}+{E}_{3}-{E}_{1}-{E}_{4}+{K}_{1}-{K}_{2}\right)+\left({F}_{1}-{F}_{2}+{E}_{4}-{E}_{2}-I+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W\right)}{R+\lambda {H}_{1}+\lambda G+{\mu}_{1}W-{\mu}_{2}W}$, there is $x\to 1$. At this point, the greater the values of $R$,$\lambda $ and G, then the larger the denominator, the more likely the inequality will hold. Therefore, increasing the government’s praise and reward for companies that substantially conduct rural ecotourism, increasing the probability of being discovered by the government when tourism companies spuriously conduct rural ecotourism, and increasing the government’s fines for companies that spuriously conduct rural ecotourism will facilitate the evolution of tourism companies toward a strategy of choosing to substantially conduct rural ecotourism.

## 4. Case Analysis and Numerical Simulation

_{1}= 40 million USD, when the local residents actively participate, the total return of the project is E

_{1}= 50 million USD, the total return of the project is E

_{2}= 45 million USD when the local residents passively participate, the total input of the enterprise is F

_{2}= 20 million USD if the tourism enterprise adopts the strategy of “spurious rural ecotourism”, the total revenue of the project is E

_{3}= 45 million USD when the local residents actively participate, the total revenue of the project is E

_{4}= 35 million USD when the local residents negatively participate, the interest rate of μ

_{1}= 0.2 if the government strictly regulates, the interest rate of μ

_{2}= 0.1 if the government formally regulates, the basic wage for local residents to work in rural ecotourism enterprises is S = 5 million USD, K

_{1}= 3 million USD is the bonus given to the active residents when the tourism enterprise takes a substantive action, and K

_{2}= 1 million USD is the bonus given to the active residents when the tourism enterprise takes a spurious action, the income of N = 5 when the local residents negatively participating, C

_{1}= 10 million USD indicating the publicity cost of the government with strict regulation and C

_{2}= 5 million USD indicating the publicity cost of the government with formal regulation, α

_{1}= 0.5 and α

_{2}= 0.3 denote the publicity efforts of the government with strict regulation and formal regulation, β = 0.5 indicates the ability of local residents to understand the policy, the increase in benefits for local residents who actively participate under strict government regulation is indicated by P = 10 million USD, H

_{1}= 10 million USD is the financial support of government with strict regulation to tourism enterprises, H

_{2}= 5 million USD is the financial support of government with formal regulation to tourism enterprises, C

_{3}= 5 million USD is the cost of monitoring of a government with strict regulation, R = 5 million USD is the praise reward given by the government to enterprises that substantially conduct rural ecotourism, G = 10 million USD is the fine imposed by the government on tourism enterprises that adopt spurious practices, λ = 0.5 is the probability of being detected by the government when tourism enterprises spuriously conduct rural ecotourism, M = 1 million USD indicates the reward that the government will give to the residents who actively participate, When the government “strictly regulates”, its credibility and reputation will be enhanced, which is recorded as T = 15 million USD. x

_{0}’ y

_{0}, z

_{0}respectively, are the initial probabilities of substantial rural ecotourism by tourism enterprises, active participation by local residents and strict supervision by government.

- (1)
- Strategy options for tourism enterprises in different initial states

- (2)
- Strategy choices of local residents in different initial states

- (3)
- The government’s choice of strategy in different initial states

- (4)
- The impact of differences in government awareness and local residents’ ability to understand on the evolution of local residents’ strategies

_{1}= 0.9, β = 0.1, and α

_{1}= 0.7, β = 0.3. When the government does not publicize rural ecotourism policies sufficiently, local residents have no access to relevant policy information, even if they have a high level of understanding, local residents tend to participate the rural ecotourism activities passively, as shown in figure α

_{1}= 0.1, β = 0.9, and α

_{1}= 0.3, β = 0.7. When the government’s efforts to publicize relevant policies and the ability of local residents to understand them are low, it is clear to see that local residents cannot be motivated to choose to actively participate, as shown in the figure α

_{1}= 0.3, β = 0.3, and α

_{1}= 0.5, β = 0.5. Only when the government increases the promotion and publicity of rural tourism-related policies, and local residents have a thorough understanding of the relevant policies, can the active participation of local residents be promoted, as shown in figure α

_{1}= 0.7, β = 0.7.

- (5)
- The impact of differences in income from other activities of local residents on the evolution of local residents’ strategies

- (6)
- The impact of the difference in the probability of being detected by the government when tourism enterprises engage in bogus rural ecotourism on the evolution of government strategies

- (7)
- The impact of differences in the probability of being detected by the government when tourism enterprises spuriously undertake rural ecotourism on the evolution of tourism enterprise strategies

## 5. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

#### 5.1. Conclusions

- (1)
- The different initial game states lead to different evolutionary stability strategy (ESS), with the final choice of which strategy depends on the probability of the various strategies initially chosen. In the long run, an ideal stable state is one in which tourism enterprises substantially undertake rural ecotourism, local residents actively participate, and the government strictly regulates.
- (2)
- When the government’s promotion of rural ecotourism policies is low, or local residents have a low understanding of the policies, local residents will choose to participate negatively. Only when the government’s support policies is high, and local residents have a thorough understanding of rural eco-tourism policies, can local residents be promoted to actively participate in rural eco-tourism activities and contribute to rural revitalization.
- (3)
- Local residents may engage in other activities while participating in rural ecotourism projects, such as selling agricultural and sideline products, making special handicrafts, etc. If the income from these activities is low, local residents will choose to actively participate in rural eco-tourism projects; if the income from these activities is high, local residents will choose to negatively participate in rural ecotourism projects.
- (4)
- When the probability of a tourism enterprise engaging in false rural ecotourism is low and the government discovers this behavior, the tourism enterprise will choose the fake strategy and the government will choose the formal regulation; as the probability of discovery increases, the tourism enterprise will choose the substantial rural ecotourism strategy and the government will choose the strict regulation strategy.

#### 5.2. Theoretical Contribution

#### 5.3. Practical Implications

- (1)
- For the government, it is necessary to increase the publicity and promotion of relevant rural ecotourism policies, so as to enhance local residents’ awareness of the relevant policies; increase the incentives for local residents of active participation; increase the incentives for enterprises that substantially implement rural ecotourism and the penalties for enterprises that falsely implement rural ecotourism; and improve the monitoring system to dynamically monitor the implementation of rural ecotourism projects by enterprises. It will increase the likelihood of fraudulent rural ecotourism projects being detected by tourism companies. The government should place rural revitalization in a prominent position, take the construction of a rural revitalization demonstration belt as an important grasp, plan carefully, highlight the characteristics according to local conditions, make full use of the linkage and radiation of the surrounding characteristic towns, and build a rural revitalization demonstration village with high standards. In addition, the local government should establish a fast and smooth information network, adopt modern information means such as e-commerce, negotiate projects through the Internet and other forms, and strive to expand online investment, while implementing entrusted investment or intermediary investment.
- (2)
- For tourism enterprises, the pursuit of profit maximize is their goal. However, rural ecotourism projects are heavily invested, and because returns are difficult and slow to achieve in the short term, tourism enterprises may be reluctant to undertake substantive implementation of rural ecotourism projects. If tourism enterprises falsely implement rural ecotourism projects, they will suffer a loss of overall social benefits. Therefore, tourism enterprises should also take social responsibility, have a long-term vision and respond to the government’s call to implement rural ecotourism projects for local residents, so as to better serve rural revitalization.
- (3)
- For local residents, they should change their traditional concepts, actively learn about the relevant rural ecotourism policies, and actively participate in rural ecotourism projects with the help of the government and tourism enterprises, so as to successfully realize their own poverty alleviation and re-employment, improve their own skills and meet the needs of rural revitalization. At the same time, based on the actual demand for the development and operation of rural eco-tourism resources, local residents are provided with skills training in the dissemination of rural eco-tourism cultural resources, the transmission of special skills and the operation of B&Bs, so as to expand the audience for vocational education and strengthen the effectiveness of vocational education.

#### 5.4. Limitations and Future Research

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Data Availability Statement

## Conflicts of Interest

## Disclosure Statement

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**Figure 13.**Strategy evolution of local residents under different publicity efforts of the government and different understanding abilities of local residents.

Local Residents | |||
---|---|---|---|

Tourism enterprise substantive | Government strict regulation | Active participation ${E}_{1}+I-{F}_{1}-{\mu}_{1}W-S-{K}_{1}+\Delta F+{H}_{1}+R$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+{K}_{1}+{\alpha}_{1}\beta P+M$ $-{C}_{1}-{H}_{1}-{C}_{3}-R-M+T+L$ | Negative participation ${E}_{2}+I-{F}_{1}-{\mu}_{1}W-S+\Delta F+{H}_{1}+R$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+N$ $-{C}_{1}-{H}_{1}-{C}_{3}-R+T+L$ |

Government formal regulation | ${E}_{1}+I-{F}_{1}-{\mu}_{1}W-S-{K}_{1}+\Delta F+{H}_{2}$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+{K}_{1}+{\alpha}_{2}\beta P$ $-{C}_{2}-{H}_{2}+L$ | ${E}_{2}+I-{F}_{1}-{\mu}_{1}W-S+\Delta F+{H}_{2}$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+N$ $-{C}_{2}-{H}_{2}+L$ | |

Tourism enterprise spurious | Government strict regulation | ${E}_{3}-{F}_{2}-{\mu}_{1}W-S-{K}_{2}+\Delta F+\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}-\lambda G$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+{K}_{2}+{\alpha}_{1}\beta P+M$ $-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+\lambda G-M+T-D$ | ${E}_{4}-{F}_{2}-{\mu}_{1}W-S+\Delta F+\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}-\lambda G$ ${\mu}_{1}W+S+N$ $-{C}_{1}-{C}_{3}-\left(1-\lambda \right){H}_{1}+\lambda G+T-D$ |

Government formal regulation | ${E}_{3}-{F}_{2}-{\mu}_{2}W-S-{K}_{2}+\Delta F+{H}_{2}$ ${\mu}_{2}W+S+{K}_{2}+{\alpha}_{2}\beta P$ $-{C}_{2}-{H}_{2}-D$ | ${E}_{4}-{F}_{2}-{\mu}_{2}W-S+\Delta F+{H}_{2}$ ${\mu}_{2}W+S+N$ $-{C}_{2}-{H}_{2}-D$ |

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**MDPI and ACS Style**

Sun, K.; Xing, Z.; Cao, X.; Li, W.
The Regime of Rural Ecotourism Stakeholders in Poverty-Stricken Areas of China: Implications for Rural Revitalization. *Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health* **2021**, *18*, 9690.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189690

**AMA Style**

Sun K, Xing Z, Cao X, Li W.
The Regime of Rural Ecotourism Stakeholders in Poverty-Stricken Areas of China: Implications for Rural Revitalization. *International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health*. 2021; 18(18):9690.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189690

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Sun, Keke, Zeyu Xing, Xia Cao, and Weijia Li.
2021. "The Regime of Rural Ecotourism Stakeholders in Poverty-Stricken Areas of China: Implications for Rural Revitalization" *International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health* 18, no. 18: 9690.
https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18189690