SHENGTAI LUYOU: Cross-Cultural Comparison in Ecotourism

Ralf Buckley, Carl Ian Cater, Zhong Linsheng, Tian Chen

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82 Citations (SciVal)


We compare the Sinophone term shengtai lüyou and the Anglophone term ecotourism through reciprocal translations of relevant literature and grounded iterative comparisons of conceptual components and practices. The Chinese concept of shengtai lüyou is similar to the Western concept of ecotourism but with key differences: a role in promoting human health; a predilection for human art and artefacts to enhance nature; and no limitations on scale. These differences are reflected both in academic literature and in practical implementation by government agencies and the tourism industry. Shengtai lüyou is thus a cultural analogue of ecotourism, not simply a translation. There are three steps in its evolution. Traditional Chinese culture, different from the West, provided the context. Recent concerns over environmental impacts, management, education and community equity in tourism, parallel to the West, provided favourable circumstances. The Western term ecotourism, introduced into Sinophone literature by Chinese researchers in the mid 1990’s, provided a catalyst. Just as China has learnt from ecotourism, the West can learn from shengtai lüyou.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-968
Number of pages24
JournalAnnals of Tourism Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • China
  • West
  • health
  • nature
  • park
  • tradition
  • definition


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