Effective environmental interpretation at Chinese natural attractions: The need for an aesthetic approach

Xu, Honggang, Cui, Qingming, Ballantyne, Roy and Packer, Jan (2013) Effective environmental interpretation at Chinese natural attractions: The need for an aesthetic approach. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 21 1: 117-133. doi:10.1080/09669582.2012.681787

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Author Xu, Honggang
Cui, Qingming
Ballantyne, Roy
Packer, Jan
Title Effective environmental interpretation at Chinese natural attractions: The need for an aesthetic approach
Journal name Journal of Sustainable Tourism   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0966-9582
1747-7646
Publication date 2013
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/09669582.2012.681787
Open Access Status
Volume 21
Issue 1
Start page 117
End page 133
Total pages 17
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Abstract Inwestern society since the 1970s, interpretation has played an important role in improving tourists’ appreciation of the natural environment, developing their environmental attitudes and facilitating the adoption of environmentally sensitive behaviour. In China, interpretation of natural attractions is a more recent phenomenon and a largely cognitive approach has been taken, focusing on the presentation of scientific information. This paper questions whether the “scientific” approach used in the development of environmental interpretation in Chinese natural areas meets the needs of Chinese tourists. It explores this theoretically through an examination of the relationship between Chinese tourists and the natural landscape, noting that landscape memories and intangible cultural heritage are important mediators of Chinese landscape appreciation. Practically, research in the Danxia Shan National Natural Reserve and Geo-Park demonstrates that self-guided interpretation using the “western” scientific approach with signage, an information centre and a geological museum, is ineffective, and ignored by the majority of visitors. Guided tours, employing an “aesthetic” approach to interpretation, using stories, art and poetry to emotionally engage visitors with the landscape, appear more appropriate, culturally relevant and effective in China. Key techniques used by guides include numerous adjectival words, figurative or metaphorical landscape descriptions and exaggeration of the landscape’s beauty.
Keyword environmental interpretation
Chinese visitors
aesthetic interpretation
natural attraction
sustainable tourism
cultural differences
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
UQ Business School Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 17 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 25 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 04 Jan 2013, 15:20:22 EST by Jane Malady on behalf of School of Tourism