1School of Landscape Architecture, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
2School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
3Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
The interaction between human beings and wild animals has a profound and complex history. Wildlife tourism has gradually been seen as a compatible medium for people to interact with nature and wild animals. Along with the increasing demand in China, the supply of wildlife-themed tourist attractions, to some extent, has disordered competition, resulting in a waste of resources. Therefore, it is necessary to sort and analyze the resource base of semi-consumptive wildlife tourist attractions in China. Selecting 574 semi-consumptive wildlife tourism attractions in China from 1906 to 2019 as objects of study, this paper analyzed the spatial and temporal distribution, evolution characteristics as well as the related influencing factors of semi-consumptive wildlife tourist attractions in China, using models such as inter-annual variability index, nearest neighbor index, geographic concentration index, the Gini coefficient and the nuclear density analysis. The results show that: (1) In terms of time, the opening time of semi-consumptive wildlife tourist attractions in China is scattered, and can be roughly divided into four stages, namely the exploration stage (1906-1948), rapid development stage (1949-1959), slow development stage (1960-1992) and high-speed development stage (1993-2019). (2) In terms of space, the attractions present a cohesive distribution, and are geographically concentrated. The development between regions is highly unbalanced. Three high-density areas have formed with Beijing, Jiangsu-Zhejiang-Shanghai and Guangzhou as cores. Overall, there are more attractions in the eastern and southern coastal areas and less in the western part of China, with a transition in central China. Over time, the cohesion form continues and geographic concentration index gradually decreases approaching the assumed average level. However, the growth between regions is increasingly unbalanced. (3) The distribution of wildlife tourist attractions is influenced by development of history and national policies concerning the protection of wildlife animals, and has a certain positive correlation with the local factors such as population, the degree of economic development and the scale of tourism development. The attractions tend to be located in areas with great regional advantages, high population density, developed economy and leading tourism development. The research conclusion provides an overall cognition of spatial and temporal distribution of semi-consumptive wildlife attractions in China and will be the scientific basis and reference for investors and relevant managers to promote the further development and planning of wildlife tourism in the future.