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postgraduate thesis: Utilizing place meanings and user opinions as mechanisms to improve visitor management in Hong Kong's country parks

TitleUtilizing place meanings and user opinions as mechanisms to improve visitor management in Hong Kong's country parks
Authors
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Kwong, C. [鄺止儒]. (2016). Utilizing place meanings and user opinions as mechanisms to improve visitor management in Hong Kong's country parks. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractHong Kong Country Parks (CPs) are Category V Protected Areas, which hold both conservation and recreation objectives. Visitor numbers have been climbing and visitor activities are diversifying. With these new challenges, CP visitor management (VM) should be reviewed and improved to minimize visitor impacts to the environment. To do so, it is much advocated to study the influencing factors of visitor behaviour for a more informed basis for VM strategy formulation. Moreover, the integration of social aspects in natural resource management has become increasingly important; management must also take into consideration of public perspectives and opinions. Therefore, to improve CP VM, this study investigated both visitor behaviour and their perceptions. People-place relations, such as Place Attachment (PAt), are often topics of study interest in managing recreational landscapes. It is frequently supported that a higher PAt leads to higher place-protective behaviours. Place Meaning (PM) is regarded to be the basis in which PAt is formed. However, there is little research done on the PM-behaviour link and neither has the PMs of CPs been documented. Hence, this study utilizes PMs to study visitor behaviour and perceptions to contribute to the advancement of PM studies. A questionnaire survey was employed with 419 cases used for regression analysis to identify predictive factors from PMs and the Theory of Planned Behaviour on responsible visitor behaviour. Self-expression and attitude were positive predictors of responsible behaviour whereas Ecological Meaning was a negative predictor. Furthermore, the results exposed a lack of normative pressure on visitors to act properly. To ensure that VM strategies recommended are publicly acceptable and feasible, visitor and expert opinions were sought through interviews. 140 CP visitors were interviewed to understand their ascribed PMs to CP and their opinions to two controversial management strategies: entrance fees and visitor number controls. Nine PMs of CPs were yielded which highlighted the way in which CPs are valued. Rejection to restrictive management strategies by interviewees underscored the shared perception of CPs as an important communal space that belonged to all Hong Kong citizens. Furthermore, in-depth interviews with CP stakeholders and experts were carried out to refine VM strategies. They recommended the use of non-intrusive VM strategies and an increased involvement from NGOs and the public to CP management. By integrating results, education and communication are focal points of improvements rather than restrictive measures. Ecological Meaning as a negative predictor suggested that the rise in interest in ecology was not backed by sufficient education on appropriate ways to interact with nature. Coupled with attitude as a positive predictor, there is a need of minimum impact education and interpretation to change mind sets and encourage ethical ways of exploring nature. A professional volunteer base should be trained to act as ambassadors to patrol on trails. Their presence can assert normative pressure on visitors to act appropriately and deliver information on rules. Furthermore, to gather continued support from the public to conserve CPs, PMs as identified from this study should be strategically marketed to enhance stewardship.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectNational parks and reserves - Public use - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramPolitics and Public Administration
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/238356
HKU Library Item IDb5824367

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorKwong, Chi-yu-
dc.contributor.author鄺止儒-
dc.date.accessioned2017-02-10T07:29:35Z-
dc.date.available2017-02-10T07:29:35Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationKwong, C. [鄺止儒]. (2016). Utilizing place meanings and user opinions as mechanisms to improve visitor management in Hong Kong's country parks. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/238356-
dc.description.abstractHong Kong Country Parks (CPs) are Category V Protected Areas, which hold both conservation and recreation objectives. Visitor numbers have been climbing and visitor activities are diversifying. With these new challenges, CP visitor management (VM) should be reviewed and improved to minimize visitor impacts to the environment. To do so, it is much advocated to study the influencing factors of visitor behaviour for a more informed basis for VM strategy formulation. Moreover, the integration of social aspects in natural resource management has become increasingly important; management must also take into consideration of public perspectives and opinions. Therefore, to improve CP VM, this study investigated both visitor behaviour and their perceptions. People-place relations, such as Place Attachment (PAt), are often topics of study interest in managing recreational landscapes. It is frequently supported that a higher PAt leads to higher place-protective behaviours. Place Meaning (PM) is regarded to be the basis in which PAt is formed. However, there is little research done on the PM-behaviour link and neither has the PMs of CPs been documented. Hence, this study utilizes PMs to study visitor behaviour and perceptions to contribute to the advancement of PM studies. A questionnaire survey was employed with 419 cases used for regression analysis to identify predictive factors from PMs and the Theory of Planned Behaviour on responsible visitor behaviour. Self-expression and attitude were positive predictors of responsible behaviour whereas Ecological Meaning was a negative predictor. Furthermore, the results exposed a lack of normative pressure on visitors to act properly. To ensure that VM strategies recommended are publicly acceptable and feasible, visitor and expert opinions were sought through interviews. 140 CP visitors were interviewed to understand their ascribed PMs to CP and their opinions to two controversial management strategies: entrance fees and visitor number controls. Nine PMs of CPs were yielded which highlighted the way in which CPs are valued. Rejection to restrictive management strategies by interviewees underscored the shared perception of CPs as an important communal space that belonged to all Hong Kong citizens. Furthermore, in-depth interviews with CP stakeholders and experts were carried out to refine VM strategies. They recommended the use of non-intrusive VM strategies and an increased involvement from NGOs and the public to CP management. By integrating results, education and communication are focal points of improvements rather than restrictive measures. Ecological Meaning as a negative predictor suggested that the rise in interest in ecology was not backed by sufficient education on appropriate ways to interact with nature. Coupled with attitude as a positive predictor, there is a need of minimum impact education and interpretation to change mind sets and encourage ethical ways of exploring nature. A professional volunteer base should be trained to act as ambassadors to patrol on trails. Their presence can assert normative pressure on visitors to act appropriately and deliver information on rules. Furthermore, to gather continued support from the public to conserve CPs, PMs as identified from this study should be strategically marketed to enhance stewardship. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshNational parks and reserves - Public use - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleUtilizing place meanings and user opinions as mechanisms to improve visitor management in Hong Kong's country parks-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5824367-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePolitics and Public Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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