PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 691-701.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.06.003

• Special Column: Ecocivilization and Tourism • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research progress of differences in ecotourism interpretation between China and Western countries and localization of interpretation

Minyan ZHAO1,2,3(), Wen YE2,*(), Suocheng DONG1, Yu LI1, Haijian GUO2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224, China
    3. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2016-06-23 Published:2016-06-23
  • Contact: Wen YE;
  • Supported by:
    Forestry Soft Scientific Research Project of State Forestry Administration, China,No.2015-R30;Philosophy Social Science Project for Innovative Team of Yunnan Province, China, No.212008;Education Scientific Research Project of Southwest Forestry University, China, No.yb201333]


Interpretation is an important means to fulfill the requirement of environmental education in ecotourism. There have been a large number of theories and successful practical experiences in the research and industry development of interpretation in the Western societies. Based on three key elements of interpretation—resources, audience, and media—and in accordance with the regional differentiation rules, principles of ecology, and environmental determinism theory, this article analyzes the causes of ecotourism interpretation differences between China and Western countries. The results showed that: influenced by the value orientation of separating humans and nature, the Western conception tried to keep the “pure nature” characteristics in ecotourism. The marine culture resulted in the Western tradition of spatial expansion and mysteries of nature, and the media design highlighted the importance of benefiting the public in the long-run and encouraged the participation of various stakeholders. The traditional Chinese aesthetic values embraced man as an integral part of nature and harmony between man and nature, and thus the Chinese welcomed the combination of natural and cultural resources in ecotourism. The agrarian tradition resulted in the stable and quiet personality of the Chinese people, who often lack interest in exploring the unknown. Requirement on the forms exceeded that on the contents concerning the media design, and more focus was placed on the short-term benefits. The article proposes the ways to localize ecotourism interpretation in China, including identifying feasible objectives of ecotourism interpretation, tapping those resources with dual values, locating the characteristics and types of the audience, regulating and standardizing the media design, among others.

Key words: ecotourism, interpretation, difference, localization, research progress