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Open AccessArticle

Ecotourism in China, Misuse or Genuine Development? An Analysis Based on Map Browser Results

1
Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University, Dali 671003, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for the Biodiversity in the Three Parallel Rivers of China, Dali 671003, China
3
School of Life Sciences, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China
4
Forestry Bureau of Yingjiang County, Dehong 679300, China
5
Faculty of Forestry, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China
6
Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 Boulevard Carl Vogt, 1205 Geneva, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184997
Received: 31 July 2019 / Revised: 31 August 2019 / Accepted: 6 September 2019 / Published: 12 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism and Hospitality Management)
Ecotourism is considered to be an effective means of promoting nature conservation and sustainable development in less developed regions. However, its widespread adoption may be the result of a misunderstanding due to confusion about definitions and interpretations. Using web map browsers, we assessed the distribution pattern of ecotourism sites in both number and density in the 31 provinces of mainland China, and found that it positively correlated with gross domestic products (GDP) and population size, showing spatial dynamics similar to the general tourism model. However, negative-weak or no correlation at all was found with the presence and size of nature variables such as protected areas. These results support previous suspicions that the term ecotourism and its associated concept may be misused in China and that the regions that could benefit the most from this form of tourism have yet to properly develop it. Although this pattern could reflect a huge demand for genuine ecotourism, we recommend that China, to achieve its ambitious sustainable development goals, adapt ecotourism policies in its environmental and socio-cultural context, manage them with a trans-disciplinary expert board, and regulate its market by introducing a rigorous admittance system with continuous monitoring and evaluation. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecotourism; mass tourism; concept overuse; conservation; admittance system; sustainable development ecotourism; mass tourism; concept overuse; conservation; admittance system; sustainable development
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, Y.; Zhang, L.; Gao, Y.; Huang, Z.; Cui, L.; Liu, S.; Fang, Y.; Ren, G.; Fornacca, D.; Xiao, W. Ecotourism in China, Misuse or Genuine Development? An Analysis Based on Map Browser Results. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4997. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184997

AMA Style

Li Y, Zhang L, Gao Y, Huang Z, Cui L, Liu S, Fang Y, Ren G, Fornacca D, Xiao W. Ecotourism in China, Misuse or Genuine Development? An Analysis Based on Map Browser Results. Sustainability. 2019; 11(18):4997. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184997

Chicago/Turabian Style

Li, Yanpeng; Zhang, Lixiang; Gao, Ying; Huang, Zhipang; Cui, Liangwei; Liu, Shuoran; Fang, Yihao; Ren, Guopeng; Fornacca, Davide; Xiao, Wen. 2019. "Ecotourism in China, Misuse or Genuine Development? An Analysis Based on Map Browser Results" Sustainability 11, no. 18: 4997. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184997

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