Chinese tourists' views of nature and natural landscape interpretation: a generational perspective

Jun Gao, Chaozhi Zhang, Zhuowei (Joy) Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigates Chinese tourists’ views of nature, interest in animal experiences and their preferred natural landscape interpretation content from a generational perspective. Eight hundred and eight self-administered questionnaires were collected at Wulingyuan, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, in China. It suggests that overall Chinese traditional cultural values and beliefs, notably the thinking of tian ren he yi (oneness of nature with humans), still have considerable impacts on Chinese tourists. They were found to have a strong sense of connection with nature and a preference for cultural interpretations of natural landscapes. Meanwhile, Chinese might be reaching a point of convergence in terms of attitude towards nature and animals with their Western counterparts, as reflected by their weak anthropocentric view, and strong ethical and aesthetic appreciation of animals, regardless of generation cohorts. Yet, the study shows significant generational gaps: older generations have a stronger connection with nature, are more concerned about environmental issues and show more support for the Western approach towards nature protection; the younger generations hold weaker anthropocentrism, and are more interested in animals, yet are less likely to learn about nature through tourism interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)668-684
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018


  • Chinese tourists
  • animal experience
  • generational difference
  • interpretation
  • view of nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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