TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2018, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (6): 781-790.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003092

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An Empirical Study on the Factors Influencing the Location of Theme Parks in China

ZUO Bing1, LU Jiamin2   

  1. (1. School of Tourism, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China; 2. Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hongkong 999077, China)
  • Online:2018-11-30 Published:2018-11-30


Theme park has gradually evolved into a major type of tourist attraction. Location as a decisive factor for the success of theme parks has been strongly emphasized in the literature, yet the factors that influence the location of the theme parks are not well-explained because of the limitation of case study. For this purpose, a new, simple method analogy to Mata analysis is used to identify the key factors for a theme park to be successful. Then, a principal component analysis and stepwise regression are applied to empirically evaluate the validity and significance of the key factors. The study finds that: 1) The level of economic development and doing business environments are the important factors that decide the location of Chinese theme parks. The combination of the two interprets 57.6% of the location of theme parks. The regional economic level (GDP) is one of the decisive factors. The government governance capacity and institutional performance are another, which have the same degree of impact on the location of theme parks. It highlights the importance of the doing business environments in promoting the investment in a government-led development economy; 2) The location of Chinese theme parks is market-oriented with a high degree of spatial agglomeration. They like to cluster together for the sake of agglomeration effects, hence are spatially clustering in the three relatively developed areas of the Bohai Rim Region, the Yangtze River delta and the Pearl River delta in China; 3) The Chinese theme parks are increasingly influenced by the operational costs, such as land prices and wages. Some small-size theme parks search either for spillover effects of the large-size theme parks or for the niche market in order to evade competition; 4) The influence of the tourists perceived image of a destination on the location of theme parks begins to decrease. In the future, the impact of economic development and doing business environments will become more prominent to the location of theme parks. In conclusion, the study finds three major factors that determine the location of the Chinese theme parks, i.e. the economic development level, the doing business environments, and the operational cost of the theme parks.. Hence, for governments who want to attract more private venture capital for the development of tourism, it is imperative to improve working efficiency and provide good public services for investors and residents. With the continuous reformation and development of China, the doing business environments in China will become more and more optimized. Factors affecting the location of the theme park will also change accordingly. The success of theme parks will depend more on its core competitiveness, brand influence, cultural connotation and service quality.

Key words: theme park, location theory, agglomeration effect, doing business environments, Mata-analysis