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Title: From greenway to sustainable tourism : experiential learning
Authors: Zhang, Shiqin
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: Tourism is becoming a lifestyle leisure worldwide. The sustainable tourism was challenged on mass basis, in urban areas and by visitors' initiatives. This study adopted an experiential learning epistemology to explore the potential of greenway experience to promote sustainable tourism so as to address those challenges. A two-step empirical investigation including on-site and follow-up interviews was then conducted to explore the overtime interactions between visitors and greenways, as well as the visitors' afterwards behavioral changes. Besides, photography techniques were employed to reveal the underlying value exchanges of greenway visitors. Thematic analysis, semiotic analysis regarding photos, and the system dynamic analysis were used to answer the four specific research questions: (1) what is the main experience for visitors on greenways? (2) How do visitors conceptualize the experience of greenways? (3) How does the greenway experience change their behavioral patterns? (4) How could greenway tourism promote sustainable tourism systematically? The experience on greenways is identified as a process to achieve existential authenticity through self-immersed activities, existential feelings and optimistic emotions. People enjoyed themselves and concerned their connections with the outside world so as to strengthen the human-environment affinity. Overall, greenway experience lies between traditional mass tourism and daily leisure. Over the authentic greenway experience, people conceptualized their appreciations of the holistic environment and their concerns with the living environment into social, self-concept and environmental aspects. Specifically, people constructed new lifestyle envisions through greenway experience, including work-life balance, bucolic living environment, physical and psychological health, and slow tourism. Moreover, visitors experienced longitudinal and recursive exchanges of environmental values, beliefs and norms over repeated greenway visits. A series of behavioral changes in self, travel patterns and human-environmental interactions upon greenway experience were identified both on greenways and in daily life. Based upon the identifications of human nature and possible constraints, three logics for pro-environmental behaviors on greenways were concluded as appreciation logic, needs logic and environmental logic. Most importantly, the system dynamic model of people's pro-environmental behavioral changes in daily life was constructed. People changed to be eco-friendly through three experiential learning feedback loops: repetitive learning to strengthen the learning effects, pseudo learning with environmental concern changes at conscious level, and silent transformations based on environment awareness improvement at the unconscious level. Finally, a systematic model with five positive feedbacks was constructed to illustrate the systematic changes from greenway experience to sustainable tourism. Visitors learnt the human-based land ethic, the individual-based public access, the home-based ecology literacy, the place-based human ecology, and the travel-based green economy through repeated and self-immersed greenway experience to promoted value-based sustainable tourism. This exploratory study resides in but is not limited to China's context. It sheds light on the visitor education from an experiential learning perspective and systematic changes from greenway experience towards sustainable tourism. Substantial theoretical contributions and practical implications were discussed regarding related topics. Creative methods like photography and system dynamic analysis were introduced. In addition, abundant theoretical propositions were proposed for further numeric verifications.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tourism -- Environmental aspects
Pages: xiv, 308 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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