Assessing tourism carrying capacity in the national forest park based on visitor’s willingness to pay for the environmental

Yaru Wang, Erda Wang, Yang Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Recreational carrying capacity (RCC) is one of the most important indictors used in measuring the use limit of the forest park resource. However, the consensus has not been reached with respect to its connotation and measuring metrics in the academic circles. The vast majority of the RCC studies in existing literature are focused on the social carrying capacity and physical-engineering aspects only, which are commonly presented by the maximum number of tourists allowed to entry the park site during a specific time period (yearly or daily). Nevertheless, to some degree, this measurement partially deviates the underlying RCC concept because of the fact that the RCC composes of multitude elements, including but not limited to the factors such as natural, social, economic and cultural. In this paper, we try to establish a new RCC theoretical framework based on recreation utility maximization theory, product characteristic theory and the park environmental attributes. In the process, the choice experiment (CE) and orthogonal design methods are used for questionnaire design following by utilizing the conditional Logit model for parameter estimates. A total of more than 700 park visitors to the Shenyang National Forest park of Liaoning province in China were interviewed for data collection. The survey questionnaire was focused on those park attribute questions such as vegetation, coverage, water quality, number of rubbishes along the park trail path, admission fees, and park management such as crowding, etc. The results indicate that the sequential order of tourist’s preferences over those recognized environmental attributes are as follows: vegetation coverage, density of visitors, visibility through the water, number of rubbish and admission fees. Of which the threshold for the carrying capacity of vegetation coverage is 78%; the amount of garbage, 3/20 m; the density of tourists, 14/200 m2 ; and visibility through the water 1.45 m, respectively. Based on these research findings, related policy and management implications are addressed accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1163
Number of pages11
JournalXitong Gongcheng Lilun yu Shijian/System Engineering Theory and Practice
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Economic Geology
  • Computer Science Applications


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