Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (4): 636-648.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003262

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Environmental Restorative Effects of Destination for Tourists from the Perspective of Tourist-Environment Interaction

Fang Zhu1,2(), Qin Su1, Yun Tao2, Jinghong Shen2   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Tourism, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu 241000, China
    2.School of Resources and Environment, Anqing Normal University, Anqing 246133, China
  • Received:2019-10-14 Revised:2020-03-24 Online:2020-07-31 Published:2020-08-11


With the fast pace of life in modern society, people are under pressure from work and life, so we should pay attention to the mental health problems of individuals. However, both daily living environments and tourist destinations can provide an opportunity for individuals to recover, and the attributes of different environments lead to different degrees of recovery. Are individual restorative effects in the tourism destination higher than those in the daily life environment? Further, are there significant differences in the restorative effects between urban and rural tourism destinations? Does the length of stay regulate the relationship between the environment and the restorative effects? All these questions are worth thinking about and discussing further. For these reasons, this study adopts a questionnaire survey method, using the paired sample t-test and mixed design analysis of variance, to explore the restorative effects of tourists in different environments and to provide a psychological explanation for this phenomenon. Firstly, the four dimensions of recovery experience, that is, relaxation experience, psychological disengagement, mastery experience, and control experience, scored higher in the tourism destination category than in the daily life environment category. On the basis of Goffman’s dramatic framework and organizational behavior theory, the macro-restorative effects brought about by the liminal experience function of tourism destinations are stronger than the meta-restorative effects of non-working leisure experience in daily life. Secondly, under the influence of traditional Chinese cultural values and Confucianism, the restorative effects of the urban environment as perceived by Chinese tourists are higher than those of the natural environment. This study differentiated between urban and rural tourism destinations from the perspective of tourists’ perception, and beginning with the two aspects of restoration experience, that is, effort-restoration and resource conservation, and taking into account the role of the environment, then found that the attributes of tourism destinations and the separation between daily life are perceived by tourists as a social situation with backstage functions,so the tourism destinations could promote individual recovery better than daily living environment. Additionally, the study found that the threshold function of the destination has a time limit, and tourists’ psychological response to the environment will change at different stages. The difference in threshold experience between urban and rural tourism destinations has an impact in the first few days. When the length of stay is extended, tourists are more familiar with rural tourism destinations, and the restorative effects brought about by destination attributes that are more inclined to natural environment characteristics are highlighted. Moreover, the intersection between urban tourism destinations and daily living environment is becoming more and more obvious. Under certain circumstances, the effects of effort-restoration of urban tourism destinations may be lower than those of rural tourism destinations. Therefore, the type of destination does not independently affect the restorative effects of tourists; it is regulated by the length of stay and related to the degree of tourists’ adaptation to the environment. This study enriches the research on environmental restorative effects from the perspective of experience and also helps to deepen the understanding of the strategies to improve restorative effects for academia and industry. At the same time, it provides a comprehensive research perspective for understanding the relationship between restorative effects, type of environment, and length of stay.

Key words: restorative environment, tourist experience, tourism destination, health tourism

CLC Number: 

  • K901