Vol. 41 (2018)
Research Project Cultural Resources and Human Dimensions

A qualitative study on Chinese visitors in Grand Teton National Park

Rui Li
Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Bing Pan
Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Zachary Miller
Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
B. Derrick Taff
Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Peter Newman
Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
Placid river reflecting mountains bright with alpenglow
Published December 15, 2018

Abstract

Grand Teton (GRTE) and Yellowstone (YELL) National Parks are experiencing an increase in visitation of Chinese tourists over the last few years, but little is known about the expectations, behaviors, and actual experiences of these new visitors. Cultural differences and language barriers contribute to misunderstanding and confusion between park management and visitors, which may lead to regulation violations and conflicts. A better understanding of Chinese tourists’ expectations and experiences is essential for better communication strategies to facilitate preservation of natural resources. To address this, we interviewed Chinese tourists traveling individually or on tour buses, and tour guides for Chinese tourists in GRTE in summer 2018. Three major themes emerged from our interviews: 1) Factors that influence Chinese tourists’ decision-making process, among those the most significant ones are the reputation of YELL and different information sources in China; 2) Dominant expectations among Chinese tourists and the role these expectations are playing in tourists’ satisfaction; and, 3) Chinese tourists’ actual experience that may be different from those of domestic travelers. Recommendations for park management are provided based on the findings.

 

Featured photo by Ken Lane on Flickr. https://flic.kr/p/VWD4Sm