Post-Earthquake Tourism In Sichuan After Wenchuan

Post-Earthquake Tourism In Sichuan After Wenchuan Earthquake

List of contents


Chapter 1 Introduction

1.1 Contextual Background

1.2 Research Rationale

  • Research aim and objectives
  • Aim

1.5 Objectives

Chapter 2 Literature review

2.1 Introduction

2.2The negative impact of earthquake on tourism

2.2.1 Damage to the hard environment of tourist attractions Destruction to tourist infrastructures Damage to tourist attractions

2.2.2 The negative effects of earthquakes on soft environment of tourist attractions

2.3 The tourism resources after earthquake

2.3.1 The forming of tourism resources after earthquake

2.3.2 Classification of tourism resources after earthquake Earthquake remains Earthquake memorials

2.3.3 The concept of post-earthquake tourism products

2.4 Development of tourism resources in earthquake areas

2.4.1 Location theory

2.4.2 Sustainable development theory

2.4.3 Tourism security

2.5 Relevant theories on tourist psychology

2.6 Theory of landscape ecology

2.7 Chapter summary

Chapter 3 Methodology

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Research methodology

3.3 Secondary research

3.4 Primary research

3.4.1 Use of questionnaires Questionnaire design Sampling Questionnaires implementation

3.5 Research constraints and solutions

3.6 Chapter summary

Chapter 4 Findings

4.1 Introduction

4.2.1 Public reactions to Wenchuan earthquake and opinions on post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan

4.2.2Respondents genetic information

  • Secondary research findings

4.4 Chapter summary

Chapter 5 Discussion

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Effects of Wenchuan earthquake on tourism in Sichuan and the current condition of tourism in the province.

5.3 Development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan

5.3.1 Economic benefits of post-earthquake tourism to Sichuan Job creation Revenue and investments

5.3.2 Social benefit; Promotion of knowledge about earthquakes

5.4 Different consumers of post-earthquake tourism

5.4.1 Students

5.4. 2 Researchers

5.4.3 Other people

5.5 Consumer risk preference

5.6 Chapter summary

 Chapter 6 Conclusion and recommendations

6.1 Conclusion

6.2 Recommendations


Appendix (Questionnaire)


China’s Sichuan province is one of the major tourist destinations in China. The region has a wide range of tourism resources that draw both domestic and international visitors. Tourism contribution to the GDP of this region has remained high for centuries. However, the 2008 earthquake significantly wounded the tourism industry, damaging scenic sites, infrastructure and the image of the province as a tourist destination.

This study will evaluate the impact of the earthquake to the tourism industry in Sichuan and assess the feasibility of converting the catastrophe into an advantage through post-earthquake tourism.


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Contextual Background

Sichuan is one of the 33 provinces of the People’s Republic of China. The main economic activities of the people of this region are farming and mining. Large production of rice has earned the province the name the ‘rice bowl of China.’  As of 2007 tourism accounted for 11.6% of the total GDP of this province (International business Wiki, 2011). The warm climate and numerous cultural and natural tourism resources in Sichuan make the province one of the most popular tourist destinations in the republic. The province has 5 world heritages, 21 top tourist cities of China, over 250 national scenic areas and over 197 A scenic areas. As a result, Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan, and other cities in the region host large numbers of international and domestic tourists annually.

On 12th May 2008, a violent earthquake of Richter scale 8.0 occurred in Sichuan Province in China. The earthquake is also called the Wenchuan earthquake in reference to Wechuan County which was the epicenter of the earthquake. Official figures placed the death toll due to the catastrophe at 69,185 people with a further 374172 people suffering grave injuries. This catastrophe caused significant damage to infrastructure and tourism scenic points.  Many residential and commercial buildings collapsed, several roads subsided and water, energy and communication systems were also severely damaged. The damage to infrastructure and scenic points hit hard on the tourism industry of this area. In the wake of the disaster, China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) released official communication barring tourists from visiting the province.

By 1st June 2008, this earthquake had caused direct economic loss of nearly 55 billion Yuan to the tourism industry. Loss of infrastructure in scenic spots accounted for about 33.73 billion Yuan while loss of accommodation facilities in the hotels, travel agencies and tourist towns was about 19.13 billion Yuan (Peng, 2008). In addition, economic losses suffered by private sectors and farmers involved in tourism distributed in the affected mountainous area and towns are beyond estimation.

The earthquake left certain rear tourist spots such as the Longmen Mountains Fault Area, remains of the Tangjiashan Barrier Lake and remains of the Qingchuan County. It is a pressing and realistic problem whether these remains can be utilized as post-earthquake tourism resources. There is need to develop and use this remains effectively to drive economic recovery and development of tourism of the disaster area.

1.2 Research Rationale

With the development of tourism in China, tourist activities have become more diversified. Cultural tourism, ecological tourism, leisure tourism and adventure tourism have been promoted comprehensively. The growing tourism industry has been able to satisfy the demand from numerous domestic and international tourism consumers correspondingly. Consequently, this sector has become a significant economic driver. The country has been ranked severally as one of the top five most visited countries in the world (Wen, 2012).  As of 2009, Sichuan was ranked the seventh most visited province among the 33 provinces of the republic. Six of the key scenic sites in the province, Dujiangyan Dam, Mount Emei, the Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park, Leshan Giant Buddha, Qingcheng Mountain and the Bamboo Sea in southern Sichuan, have been ranked in the top 100 most visited sites in the country (, 2011). However, the ranking has since fallen due to the effects of the earthquake. Under this background, the remains and related documents of the “5.12” earthquake can be developed as specific tourism resources. Due to regional monopoly of the earthquake remains resources on the aspects of geology and landform and their research values on the aspects of culture and scientific investigation, development of these resources will definitely speed up the recovery of the tourism sector as well as the economy of this region (Huan, 2004).

The author makes the following considerations when choosing to study the development of the post-earthquake tourism: first , the earthquake in Sichuan has left rich post-earthquake tourism resources, the development of which will generate great economic and social benefits; secondly, the development of  post-earthquake tourism should highlight corresponding significant features of earthquake, which should be different from common tourism products both in form and meaning; thirdly, the development of post-earthquake tourism should not only satisfy the tourists’ requirement to contact the earthquake region closely and to watch the earthquake remains, but should also possess the functions to improve the tourists’ related knowledge of earthquake and realize the value of scientific investigation.

Development of post-earthquake tourism can drive economic recovery and development of tourism in the earthquake area of Sichuan (Huang, 2008). This would also benefit other related industries such as construction, transportation, catering and souvenir manufacturing and sales. As a result, many employment opportunities for local residents will emerge. The overall impact of such an endeavor would be promotion of speedy regional economic recovery and development of Sichuan province.

Intensified theoretic study on the development of post-earthquake tourism will directly guide the accurate development of post-earthquake tourism and provide a reference for development of tourism in other forms (Han, 2011). Post-earthquake tourism will introduce a new twist to the structure of tourism products in Sichuan thus satisfying the diversified requirements from the international and domestic tourists. However, development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan needs theoretic guidance. In this research, the author aims to explore the impact of earthquake on the tourism in Sichuan from theoretical and practical points of view in order to combine theory and practice to come up with a strategy to develop the post-earthquake tourism resources in Sichuan.

1.3 Research aim and objectives

1.3.1 Aim

This research aims to analyze the feasibility of development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan and how it would enhance economic and tourism recovery in the province.

1.3.2 Objectives

  1. To conduct literature reviews of corresponding theories and previous studies;
  2. To investigate the impact of the earthquake on tourists’ attitude towards Sichuan province and subsequent changes in consumption behaviour;
  3. To find out the characteristics and opportunities of tourism development in Sichuan after the earthquake;
  4. To recommend measures that should be taken to speed up the recovery of the tourism industry in Sichuan province.

Chapter 2 Literature review

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the corresponding theories, concepts and previous researches are reviewed to provide a theoretical understanding and carry out the research further. The chapter is composed of three distinct parts: the negative impact of Wenchuan earthquake on tourism in Sichuan, the theories of creation of post–quake tourism resources and the theories of development and utilization of post-tourism resources. The knowledge acquired from this section will be used to assess the feasibility of development of post-earthquake tourism resources left by the earthquake. It will also assist in drafting recommendations on how such development would stimulate the recovery of tourism in the province.

2.2 The negative impact of earthquake on tourism

As of 2009, tourism was a pillar industry in Sichuan contributing 10% to the GDP of the province. The province boasts of 5 world heritages, 21 top tourist cities of China, over 250 national scenic areas and over 197 A scenic areas (Yanrong, 2011). The province was undeniably one of the most popular tourist destinations evident from the large number domestic and international tourists that visited the area.

2.2.1 Damage to the hard environment of tourist attractions Destruction to tourist infrastructures. In the tourism industry, transportation facilities include external and internal transportation facilities. As a result, damage caused by earthquakes to transportation facilities affects the transport between tourist destinations and the tourist markets as well as the internal traffic in the tourist destinations. The Wenchuan earthquake damaged tourist centers, hotels and restaurants thus making the tourist reception impossible (Ekiz, 2006). In the worst hit areas specifically around the epicenter, entire villages and cities were damaged. Several roads were destroyed by landslides thus paralyzing transportation. The creation of lakes due to blocked rivers posed a great danger to people traveling to the region (The Telegraph, 2012). Health facilities, sanitation, communication, water and power systems were also damaged severely in the entire quake region. Lack of these facilities makes living or visiting such a place hard. This made it almost impossible for tourists to travel tour or stay in most parts of the province. Damage to tourist attractions. Earthquakes cause damage to the natural tourist resources in the form of mountain collapses, landslides, cracks and debris flow (Cui, 2011).  The landslides may bury scenic sites and vegetation, block Rivers, damage dams and kill animals (Panagos, 2011). Cracks formed on the earth’s crust take away the hydrological landscape. Destruction of animal habitat causes biological degradation of the landscape. Earthquakes also damage manmade tourist attractions such as museums, historical buildings and monuments.

2.2.2 The negative effects of earthquakes on soft environment of tourist attractions

Earthquakes damage scenic spots in tourist attractions and affect transportation between the attractions to the outside world. With no access to the tourist attractions, activities in the tourist attractions cannot carry out and tourists choose to abort. In addition, earthquakes exert more influence on public consumption in terms of psychology than of the consumption behavior itself. People will shy from visiting disaster areas even after many after the catastrophe (Pope, 2011). The public shows great concern to earthquake information. With increasing psychological pressure, people are less willing to risk for a travels (Haoting, 2008). Most people that had previously made plans to travel to a catastrophe area cancel travelling plans in the wake of the disaster. Consequently, disaster areas end up losing current and potential tourists.

2.3 The tourism resources after earthquake

2.3.1 The forming of tourism resources after earthquake

Earthquake forms new tourism resources by damaging and restructuring other tourism resources. For example, the water-stone scenery of Jiuzhaigou Valley in Sichuan Province was damaged in the 5.12 earthquake, and secondary development was conducted on the previous basis to form new tourism resource (International Business Wiki, 2008) The Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an has a collapsed top due to multiple earthquakes; it has been through six earthquakes, three shatters and three recoveries, and now it’s a great post-earthquake tourism resource (China Internet Information Centre, 2012).

New tourism resources can also be formed during the earthquake (Goldkorn, 2008). For example, the Tangshan Earthquake almost razed Tangshan City to the ground. After the earthquake, people preserved certain damaged buildings to form tourism resources.

Earthquake can present previously undiscovered tourism resources and form developable tourism resources. Even in this modern age there are some tourism resources which have not been recognized nor shared by people (Jose’, 2005)

. Others have been discovered yet remain undeveloped and unutilized due to current economic and technical power. All such resources are referred to as potential tourism resources. An earthquake makes the development of such resources possible. For example, Longmen Mountains Fault Area, which is a rich tourism resource, was only discovered after Wenchuan Earthquake (Sun, 2008).

New tourism resources can also be formed during the reconstruction process after the earthquake.  Due to grief caused by death after strong, people establish memorial places such as earthquake museums and inscriptions on tablets to preserve the memory of the dead (Huang, 2008). Such structures act as tourism attractions (Pezzullo, 2012).

2.3.2 Classification of tourism resources after earthquake Earthquake remains. According to Donald (2007), earthquake remains refer to the natural sceneries of remains after damage caused by sudden destructive earthquake. Sceneries of earthquake remains are diversified depending on the structures that were damaged. Broadly these remains are categorized into construction remains, faulted mountain structure and river barriers.  The remnant structures can be used for sightseeing (Michael Auslin, 2012). In addition to sightseeing, such structures can attract scientific tourists and scholars. The science education and research values of the tourism resources of earthquakes are reflected on various aspects such as the generation of earthquakes, the damage caused to the human beings, causes and prevention of earthquakes (Wen, 2012). Earthquake memorials. Earthquake memorials are tourism resources derived from earthquake remains. Earthquake memorials refer to cultural tablet inscriptions, stone inscriptions, memorial constructions and exhibits preserved to record and memorize the earthquake (Laws, 2007). Memorials also include exhibition, such as earthquake memorial activity, earthquake monuments and earthquake museum (Bennet, 2012).Memorial tourism resources of earthquake memorials also include tourism activities developed with the theme of earthquakes (Han, 2011). Such include camping activities and restaurants with earthquake as the theme have great memorial significance.

As tourism resources, earthquake memorials are cultural sceneries having characteristics of historical relics and more significant historical research values. Though, most have sympatry with the quakes that formed them, they can be shaped manually to incorporate the culture of the time. As a result, historians as well as scientists conducting geosciences investigations frequent places with earthquake memorials. (, 2011)

When natural hazards do occur, they present an opportunity to gather data to support computational modeling of hazards through post disaster surveys. Real events allow us to validate and refine our models. For example, if the impact from a simulated event is aligned with the real impact, we know our model parameters are working well. If they are not, we can look at how we can more closely model true impact. This allows us to improve our models and advice.

2.3.3 The concept of post-earthquake tourism products

Earthquake is a form of crustal movement, which causes damage to the manual constructions and the natural landform through various seismic waves (Fryer, 2012). In the process, various remains and relics are formed. A large quantity of data is stored afterwards as records of earthquake activities. This relics and records can be used as post-earthquake tourism products, which will give the tourists a unique experience. According to Shu (2012), post-earthquake tourism products are put into the tourism market through development of related remains and relics in accordance with the principles and means of tourism. Proper development makes it easy for tourists to understand information related to the region, the earthquake and improve the capability to defend themselves in the event of such a catastrophe.

2.4 Development of tourism resources in earthquake areas

2.4.1 Location theory

Location theory, dating back to Europe in the 19th century, is a theory concerning the spatial distribution for human activities and optimization of spatial organizations. The theory states that labor costs, transport costs and agglomeration economies are the three main factors that influence industrial location (Rodrigue, 2012). Deciding the location of a business requires optimal consideration of these factors.

Development of tourism resources in its essence is the layout and configuration process of tourism business and its various sectors within a limited area. As one of the guiding theories concerning tourism development, location theory plays a pivotal role in guiding the location choice of tourism resources development, the layout of attractions, reasonable configuration of tourism resources and the arrangement of tourist communications (Sharma, 2004). The phenomenon of earthquake is regional. Therefore, researches on the location condition are crucial in the tourism resources development in earthquake affected areas.

2.4.2 Sustainable development theory

The 1987 research report of the World Committee on Environment and Development proposed the sustainable development pattern and defined the concept as the ability to meet the needs of the current generation and the offspring. The core of the theory is the co-evolution of humanity and the nature as well as the harmonious development among people (Sharpley & Telfer, 2002). Tourism, initially considered as the “smokeless industry”, proved not to be so after years of development and practices. The fact that tourism can boost regional economic growth makes tourism development the focus of economic development (Cortes, 2006). Gradually, the desire for quick success leads to too much emphasis on development and the neglect of environmental protection. Tourist attractions thus lose their distinctive features and serious environmental crisis comes into being, which brings severe harm to tourism development (Sharpley &Telfer, 2002).

To create sustainable post-earthquake tourism it is important to consider present and future implications. Earthquake-affected areas need to maintain the sustainability of tourism development under the influence of earthquake disasters (Giaoutzi, 1993). Thus, the sustainable development theory should guide tourism resources development and planning in earthquake-affected areas. This will improve coordination of tourism activities and the ecological environment and hence achieve sustainable tourism development (Mander, 2006).

2.4.3 Tourism security

Tourism has become the one of the largest industries worldwide (Cortes, 2006). However, security challenges in tourism, aroused concern in 1970s and 1980s.The Tourism Bill of Rights and Tourist Guidelines formulated by the World Tourism Organization. On 17th September 1985, explicated relevant rights and obligations of tourists and tourist attractions (Mansfeld & Pizam, 2006). According to Jamal & Robinson (2009), tourism security is the manifestation of all security concerns in all tourist activities. It covers both the safety thoughts and awareness of people involved in tourist activities and specific security events or security accidents in tourism links. Security is particularly important in tourism resources development of earthquake-affected areas; tourist security in travelling links, the security of community residents as well as ecological, economic, social and cultural safety of tourist attractions (Wen, 2012). In this connection, the exploration on security problems in tourism resources development should continue.

2.4.4 Relevant theories on tourist psychology

Tourist psychology, a branch of applied psychology, is a new discipline that applies research outcomes and general theories of psychology into tourist researches (Kuo, 2008). Tourist psychology studies mental activities and corresponding tourist behaviors, tourist services psychology, tourist business management psychology, and studies on individual psychology from the perspective of tourist perception, tourist motivation, tourist preference and satisfaction (Ang, 2000).  Research outcomes enlighten tourism resources development and planning. Such include, preference rules for travelling of different personalities being grouped by different emotions in traveling activities (Pearce & Stringer, 1991). In addition, since the tourism development of earthquake-affected areas is newly started, the mentality of residents in tourist attractions has a direct influence on the time, manner and content of tourism resources development and planning (Uysal, 1994).

According to Ang (2000), consumer confidence decreases and consumers cut their spending in the context of economic crisis. Consumers tend to value the functions and durability of products as they deter to purchase expensive goods. Some of them even turn to low-price or local brands. They attach importance to product costs and reliable information rather than product advertisements according to their imagination. According to Zurawickib & Braidot (2005), consumers have decreased general consumption budget. For most consumers, tourism consumption is not the basic necessities of life. In case of major social or environmental crisis, potential travelers will show different consumption behaviors from ordinary conditions.

In case of unusual emergencies such as earthquakes, financial crises and sudden public incidents, consumers adjust consumption behaviors according to their perception to external environment (Ang, 2000). Decision-making activities include both positive consumption behaviors and negative behaviors such as consumption cancelling and deferring. For example, the Asian financial crisis happened in 1998 was aggravated when consumers reduced their spending due to pessimistic expectation to the economy. When SARS broke out in the year 2003, a large number of tourists cancelled their tours to China, which led to an economic detriment of over 100 billion Yuan. In this regard, introduction of new products in tourism industry, specifically post-tourism resources would require a stimulus to guide and influence consumer behaviors (Sun, 2008). Ignorance to the problems will result in poor performance of the product.

Tragedies influence tourist behaviors when they are highly sensitive (Kuo, 2008). Therefore, the Government should formulate relevant policies before the crisis happen and take measures to confront different kinds of diseases according to the severity of risks.

Wang (2009) compared the effect on tourism caused by crises that occurred in Taiwan and the other places in the world from 1996 to 2006, including terrorism, economic crisis, natural disasters and diseases. The analysis showed that elements concerning tourist security and health have significant influence on tourist needs, hence have more psychological impact. Wang (2009) further suggests that some emergencies inspire new tourist needs. For example, under a severe economic crisis some optimistic tourists may increase expenditure. Earthquakes cause enormous damage to attractions and impact negatively on tourists’ perception of the safety of attractions. This makes tourists abort travel and tours arrangements. However, new after-earthquake landscapes attract new tourists who visit the place out of interests or to conduct research.

Rittichainuwat & Chakarborty (2009) study the perceptual risks of tourists in the context of terrorism and diseases. The findings show that tourists will not cancel their plans in unconventional emergencies; instead, they travel to places with relatively lower perceptual risks. Tourists make travel decisions based on their perceptual self-control ability to the external environment. Moreover, tourists with different travel experiences differ in the risk perception ability. Tourists’ choice on destinations relates to the economic development of the destinations. Researches on tourist behaviors, particularly in unconventional emergencies after the crisis, will help to understand and master the consumption features of tourists and provide references for the development policies of tourist cities.

Psychological factors affecting tourist behaviors are complex and dynamic. Schein (2009) puts forward the ripple effect of risk transmission when studying risk cognition. He believes that the profundity and span of the ripple hinge depend on the property of the risk itself, such as the degree, pattern and nature of the damage, and also the public’s knowledge and perception on the information in the ripple process. According to the theory, psychological factors that affect tourists’ decisions under risk perception include the perceived value, perceived risk and influences of social responsibility, psychological image of the destination, crisis communication and information quality. All of them exert direct influence on tourists.

2.4.5 Theory of landscape ecology

Landscape ecology is the analysis of the relationship between the nature and the ecological complexes in a regional unit (Troll, 1939). Landscape ecology abstracts landscape spatial structure into three basic units: patch, corridor and matrix. Some scholars add a new element “edge”. This structure is universally applicable to various landscapes, including the tourism landscape. Patch is composed by the landscape and its surroundings; corridor refers to the transportation means between tourist attractions and tourist generating regions as well as the tie lines of corridor and patch within the tourist destination. For tourist attractions, matrix is the geographical types and humanistic features of the tourist attractions. Edge is defined as the external environment of tourist attractions. The main principles of landscape ecology can be summarized into structural principles, functional principles and time principles. The influence of earthquakes to tourism resources should be considered in its development in earthquake-affected areas and theories on landscape ecology should be rationally applied into the development.

2.5 Chapter summary

In this chapter, the author reviews the corresponding theories and frameworks on post-earthquake tourism, including the negative impact of earthquake on tourism, the theories of tourism resources after earthquake and the theories of development of tourism resources in earthquake area. These theories will define the direction of the research including drafting of research questions for primary data collection.

Chapter 3 Methodology

3.1 Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               In this research, the author aims to conduct the research to address the following questions: how did the Wenchuan earthquake affect tourism in Sichuan? What is the current status of tourism in Sichuan?  What should be done to revive tourism in the province? Answers to these questions were sought from tourists. The views of the respondents, who can be considered as the clients in this case, will enable the author to make recommendations that are geared towards achieving tourist satisfaction and changing the negative perspective acquired after the disaster.

This research will use citizens in China as the primary subjects. The author believes that they will comprise of an effective sample since close to 50% of tourist who visit Sichuan are Chinese. The investigation will be conducted in form of questionnaires which will be analyzed to provide secondary data.

3.2 Research methodology

Quantitative research method employs statistical techniques to test a theory. The method uses numbers and variables to establish whether a predicted generalization of a concept is true (Abawi, 2008). This method requires a significantly large population sample to make the results valid. This method assumes that reality is objective and hence tests theories deductively following logic and hypnoses in a cause and effect order.

On the other hand, qualitative research is conducted by constructing complex holistic pictures of the theory under investigation (Abawi, 2008). Researchers using this method seek to know deeper truth. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative method assumes that multiple realities can exist in any situation.

According to Charoenruk quantitative method is usually employed to test phenomena in natural sciences while qualitative research is most suitable for social sciences. Some of the parameters to be examined in this research such as the effect of disaster on a population are relatively empirical. On the other hand some of the aspects cannot be examined fully using statistical methods. Consequently this research will adopt both methods.

3.3 Secondary research

Secondary research refers to data borrowed from previous researches and writings and used to provide proof in a new research (Stewart, 1993). This includes any information that can be reused within a research context. Stewart &Kamins (1993) state that new researchers can learn about the subject they are investigating and establish the areas that require deeper examination from secondary sources. In this research, the status of tourism in Sichuan and the tourists’ consumption behaviour will be analysed from secondary sources. Proofs, ideas and facts found in the secondary sources will be used to support primary research. The author has access to University library which provides a wide variety of sources. The library has books, educational journals, newspaper archives an online material.

3.4 Primary research

One of the greatest advantages of primary research is the data can be collected is specific to the research since the researcher has full control over the methods used (Robson, 2009).This research will obtain primary data from interaction from citizens of China who have visited Sichuan as well as natives from the province.  |The information acquired will shape the direction of recommendations made by this research. The study will seek the feelings views and opinions of the Citizens on the earthquake. In this regard it will try to answer the question, what contributions can tourist make in terms of ideas to develop and revive tourism in Sichuan?  It will, therefore, seek to know what the consumers expect to be done as well as what they would like to be done. Basically, it will target those things which can be done to make more people feel comfortable touring Sichuan after the earthquake.

Questionnaires will be used as the primary method of data collection. The questionnaire will be e-mailed to the respondents. The data collected will be analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively.

.3.4.1 Use of questionnaires

As one of the most commonly used data collection tools, questionnaires are considered a cheap and effective way to collect information from a vast amount of respondents. There is an amount of reasons to review a topic with a questionnaire survey. First, questionnaires are anonymous, and researchers can more easily collect precise data with the carefully selected questions (Westfall 2009).Data collected this way is easy to compare since it can be quantified. In addition, questions from questionnaires are designed for theoretical reasons and the author can easily control what should be included. Questionnaire design. A questionnaire usually starts from a known theoretical position (Johns & Lee-Ross, 1998). The questions are fixed, and they generally conform to an existing hypothesis. The structure of a questionnaire is such that the researcher does not need to construct new questions. A well-designed questionnaire can help the author gather information effectively not only on the overall performance of the test organization, but also to collect data for specific reasons in related enterprises (Johns, 1998). Questionnaires in this research are designed to collect data related to the effects of the earthquake and collect ideas on the actions that can be taken to revive tourism industry in Sichuan.

The questionnaire consists of two parts: the first part is the survey the attitude of people towards Sichuan after the earthquake, what they feel about the current condition of tourist attractions in Sichuan, tourism preference and views on improvement and reconstruction measures and hence development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan. The second part seeks basic genetic information of the respondents including gender, age and education level.

The data collected will be analyzed through descriptive statistics methods including data summary, calculation and graphic. Data summary includes the accumulation of individual variables and percentage calculation, such as the respective summary of gender, age, education, academic degree, occupation and income level. Graphs will provide a visual representation of the data for easier comparison and analysis. Sampling. Due to economic and time constraints, only 200 people will be used in the survey sample. Stratified sampling method will be used to select the respondents. This sampling method is used when a researcher wants to get at least one representative from each subgroup of a set of respondents (Westfall, 2009).The respondents should comprise of Sichuan natives and other people from other provinces including people of different age groups. In this way the author hopes to achieve balance and hence get data that represents the entire population. Implementation of questionnaires. The questionnaire survey schedule will follow the procedure outlined below. Research questions will be prepared refined and typed to make a soft copy. The designers will review the final copy to make sure that questions are not ambiguous and can be understood clearly. Respondents will be contacted and given guidelines on how to complete the questionnaire. Finally the document will be e-mailed to the respondents.

3.5 Research constraints and solutions

Implementation of the questionnaires may prove to be challenging due to respondents attitudes and possible impatience which may hinder completion. To minimize this disadvantage, the author will provide a short of the aims and importance of the research. To further motivate the respondents, rewards will be offered upon completion and submission of the document.

The exercise of sending and collecting questionnaires may be time consuming and uncertain. Therefore, the author tries to send the questionnaires as early as possible to ensure the data collected will be on time for the analysis.

3.6 Chapter summary

This research will use qualitative and quantitative methods. Primary data will be collected using questionnaires sent via e-mail. Secondary research will be conducted from the University library using different types of sources.

Chapter 4 Findings

4.1 Introduction

Of the 200 questionnaires sent out, 125 were successfully collected questionnaires are collected. This accounted for 62.5 of the total questionnaires sent out. This section presents the data collected and the analysis conducted on the same. It also lay down research findings from the secondary research conducted.

4.2. Public reactions to Wenchuan earthquake and opinions on post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan

A big percentage of the respondents were still willing to visit Sichuan even after the earthquake. As shown in Table 1 only 5.6% of people are not willing to tour Sichuan after the earthquake.

Most people (51.2%) are concerned about the state of infrastructure in Sichuan province after the earthquake. Another 43.2% think they would have a problem finding the right accommodation, catering and other facilities in the province. Only 4% are concerned about aid facilities in the region.

An overwhelming 94.4% of the people would visit the province if all factors such as travel expenses and travel time were restored to the way they were before the earthquake. The remaining 5.6% are not willing to visit the province even if this was done.

All the respondents think that post-earthquake tourism would revive the industry in Sichuan. A big percentage (58.4%) of the respondents rated the current tourism infrastructure as being good. Only 19.2% think it is very good while 9.6% think it is average and 1.6% thinks it is poor. (.6 percent had no idea of the current situation of infrastructure in the region.

The most popular category of tourist attractions in Sichuan are natural scenic sites whereby 36.8% responded in favor. 33.6% of people prefer to visit panda habitats while 20% and 9.6% of the potential visitors fancy visiting Museums and Minority villages.

Only 9.6% of potential tourist to Sichuan thinks that lowering of tour prices is the best measure to revive tourism industry in Sichuan. A much greater percentage (45.6%) think tourism would improve in Sichuan if the tourist experience was improved. Another 39.2% think increased security would foresee a speedy recovery of the industry. 5.6%of the respondents think there are other better methods that can be used to improve tourism in the region.

A majority of the respondents (51.2 %) who have travelled to Sichuan before heard about the tourist attractions in the province through radio and television.34.4 % received the information through network advertising while 12% were told by friends or relatives. Those who got the information from newspaper adverts accounted for 2.4% only.


4.2.1 Statistical analysis

Table 1

Respondent category       The proportion (%)
Willing to travel to Sichuan after earthquake           94.4
Not willing to travel to Sichuan after earthquake           5.6


Figure1Factors that people that people who want to travel to Sichuan consider

People who are unwilling to go visit Sichuan

Figure 2 the people’s attitude toward tourism in Sichuan


Figure 3 People’s rating of the current status of tourism services and infrastructure in Sichuan


Figure 4 the most popular attractions in Sichuan after earthquake

Figure 5 Evaluation of factors that would revive tourism in Sichuan


Figure6. Channels through which people access information about Sichuan tourism

4.2.2 Respondents genetic information

Among the 125 successful questionnaires collected, 47.2% were completed by female and the remaining 52.8% were submitted by males. As a result the ratio of gender representation was almost balanced. As shown in table 2. The modal class of the respondent’s age was 31 to 44-year-old which accounts for 49.03% of the total sample. This group of people comprises of working people and hence has enough to spend on tourism.

Table 3 Age distribution of the respondents

               Age         The proportion (%)
18-30 (or under 18) 36.0
31-44 53.6
45-60 (or above 60) 10.4

In the survey of the respondents’ occupations, the results are shown in Table 4.

Table 4 Educational level of the respondents

          Occupation             The proportion (%)
Students 28.0
Civil servants 25.6
Company staffs 36.8
Others 9.6
  • Secondary research findings

Tourism is one of the major contributors to Sichuan economy. However, the Wenchuan earthquake affected the tourism industry in Sichuan in 2008 causing direct economic losses as well as loss of tourist attractions. Damage caused to Tourist attractions, infrastructure and other facilities made tourism reception impossible.

Earthquakes create new structures after damaging old tourism attractions (, 2011). Some other potential tourist attractions which had not been discovered may be exposed by earthquakes. All of these structures together with damaged towns, cities and villages can be utilized as post-earthquake tourist attractions (Sun, 2008).

Wenchuan earthquake damaged structures in Sichuan by collapsing buildings, roads, damaging natural sceneries and blocking rivers (, 2011).  These structures can be exploited as post-earthquake attractions (Jose’, 2005).

Tourism consumers have diversified interests (Ang, 2000). There are those who travel for leisure while others travel for research and education. Though disasters such as earthquakes affect short term consumer behavior, they are widely publicized thus arousing interests which create potential tourists (Sharpley & Telfer, 2002).

Tourism success is highly dependent on infrastructure and safety (Rodrigue, 2012). Poor infrastructure and existence of possible threats dissuade people from visiting an area.

  • Chapter summary

Primary data collected is analysed and represented in statistical analysis. It is established that almost all citizens in the country are still willing to travel to Sichuan and all of them support the development of post-earthquake tourism in the province. It is from generic information of the respondents that ITSI established that most people who are willing to travel to the province have financial capability to do so. Findings collected from secondary data were also reviewed.

Chapter 5 Discussion

5.1 Introduction

This chapter combines findings from primary and secondary research to evaluate the feasibility of development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan. It will also analyze how post-earthquake tourism would speed up economic recovery as well as tourism recovery.

5.2 Effects of Wenchuan earthquake on tourism in Sichuan and the current condition of tourism in the province.

Wenchuan earthquake was a strong earthquake with immense repercussions.  It destroyed roads, collapsed buildings and cause massive landslides and debris flow. This caused enormous loss of life and property. In addition, some of the scenic sites such as mount Emei were partially damaged. Several major rivers were blocked hence creating potential threats of flooding. The quake almost paralyzed transport in the greater part of the province completely. The national tourism body in the country barred tourists from visiting the region and advised them to avoid the area in the near future.

Of greater concern to the tourism industry of Sichuan is the psychological effect that the catastrophe had on the tourists. However, as seen from the survey, many people (94.4%) are still willing to travel to the region even after the tragedy. However, most of the people think the current infrastructure and housing systems needs to be improved. 94.4% of potential tourist to the region is worried about the state of roads, accommodation and catering services. However, most people would travel if improvements were made on these areas. Currently, 46.5% of potential tourist thinks that improvement of tourist experience in Sichuan would bring speedy improvements to the industry.

Due to media coverage of the earthquake disaster, international potentials visitors may get negative images of Sichuan even before visiting the province. This may dissuade them from visiting the area. In this context, uniqueness of the tourism experience introduced by post-quake resources will counter such negative perceptions

Post-disaster marketing measures should be concentrated on the safety propaganda and the improvement of service quality; while the price reduction should be taken as a necessary supporting measure to a greater extent. Most tourists take the neutral attitude towards the price-descending tourism. From the survey, only 9.6% of potential tourist to Sichuan thinks that lowering of tour prices is the best measure to revive tourism industry in Sichuan. A much greater percentage (45.6%) think tourism would improve in Sichuan if the tourist experience was improved. Another 39.2% think increased security would foresee a speedy recovery of the industry. To a greater extent, this also shows that safety is the most concerns of the tourism in disaster areas from the perspective of the tourists.  Currently, the tourism stakeholders have undertaken to lower prices in an attempt to revive the industry.  Evident from the survey, enhancing security and bettering the services being provided would provide a quicker recovery of tourism in Sichuan.

5.3 Development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan

It has been established that there are many remains and relics left behind by the Wenchuan earthquake. The numerous building ruins, relics, media pictures during the crisis, video materials and literary creation can be developed as tourist attractions. Small objects can be assembled in Museums while some of the damaged buildings can be retained for sightseers. In addition, scenic sites that were partially damaged can still be used as tourism attractions. Animals such as pandas that survived the earthquake in the areas that were hit hardest can be assembled in a zoo.  Earthquake memorials are a virtual tourism resource. Establishing regular memorials would not only be a remembrance of the tragedy but also an attraction to tourists.

Post-earthquake resources are new additions to the already existing attractions in Sichuan. As shown by the survey, there are several popular areas attractions in the region including the panda habitat, Mountains and minority villages. Addition of post-earthquake resources would expand diversity and hence more satisfaction to the ever growing interest of tourists. In essence post-earthquake tourism would introduce a new twist to Sichuan tourism hence brings more tourists with different interests.

Success in development of post-earthquake tourism would require parallel reconstruction of infrastructure and housing. As shown by the results from the survey, most of the respondents rated the current infrastructure as being average or below average. Most people (51.2%) would shy from visiting Sichuan due to the poor state of infrastructure after the earthquake. An overwhelming 43.2% think they would have a problem finding the right accommodation, catering and other facilities in the province. Almost all of this people (94.4%) are interested in visiting Sichuan. 45.6% of the respondents thought that improvement of tourism experience in the region would speed up the recovery of the industry.  This improvement could be provided introduction of a new form of tourism (post-earthquake tourism). 100% of the respondents think that post-earthquake resource development would be a good initiative for the tourism industry of Sichuan. This implies that the province has many potential visitors willing to travel after the reconstruction of tourism infrastructure.

5.3.1 Economic benefits of post-earthquake tourism to Sichuan Job creation. The earthquake caused huge economic losses for the earthquake area. Most people lost property and relatives some of whom were the breadwinners. Development of earthquake tourism product makes a large number of tourists flock in, requiring catering, accommodation, sales, traffic and transport services. This would employ lots of the jobless people and hence give them a chance to rebuild their lives. Revenue and investments. In this survey, all the respondents expressed support to development of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan. This is an indication that the industry would attract large numbers of tourists some of whom are potential investors. Therefore, the tourism would not only generate revenue in terms of tour charges; it would also promote local development through investments.

5.3.2 Social benefit; Promotion of knowledge about earthquakes

The development of post-earthquake tourism, through various tangible and intangible products, deepens tourists’ understanding of earthquake phenomena. Sichuan being one of the areas that has suffered one of the worst earthquakes in history will attract many people who want to study the phenomena. Conserving evidence in form of post-earthquake tourism resources would enable people to understand the idea. This would also speed up tourism and economic recovery of the province.


5.4 Different consumers of post-earthquake tourism

Post-earthquake tourism is special form of tourism. In addition to leisure, establishment of this kind of tourism in Sichuan would serve other purposes such as commemoration, mourning, research and education.  This kind of tourism can help people view the geography of the world differently. Under this background, post-earthquake tourism would attract the following groups of people.

5.4.1 Students

             In this survey, 28.0 % of the respondents were students. Since the survey sample was chosen to represent the population as a whole, it is valid to estimate that 28% or more of the people who would visit Sichuan after development of post-quake tourism would be students. Through school educational trips and privately organized tours, students can visit the province to gain knowledge on the concept of earthquakes.

5.4. 2 Researchers

Geologists and historians find some of the relevant information in their fields in earthquake areas. People conducting research either to document the facts about the earthquake or for geological researches will visit the province to view preserved remains.

5.4.3 Other people

There are those people who will visit Sichuan out of curiosity and desire to witness what happened. Preserved ruins will serve as vivid descriptions of the tragedy. This category of tourists is probably the largest group.  Some of these people may be environmentalists, adventure seekers and people on holiday.

5.5 Consumer risk preference

Tourists leave the warm and comfortable living environments to try a bivouac life. Risk preference makes people feel the urge to travel to remote and harsh environments to satisfy curiosity. The thrill of massive objects, animals and works of nature provides the fun in tours. Post-earthquake tourism can satisfy tourist curiosity and cognitive demands while providing a thrilling tourist experience.

5.6 Chapter summary

In this chapter the findings of the research are analyzed and combined to evaluate the impact of Wenchuan earthquake on tourism industry of Sichuan. From the primary and secondary findings, the author analyzes the feasibility of establishment and success of post-earthquake tourism.

Chapter 6 Conclusion and recommendations

6.1 Conclusion

            Sichuan was left with numerous potential tourism resources after Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in the year 2008. If properly developed, the remains of the quake would attract numerous tourists to the region. The province would receive different types of tourists due to the diversity introduced by post-earthquake resources. In addition to reviving the tourism industry, post-earthquake tourism would also revive the economy of the province. The industry would bring numerous returns and create jobs for the natives. This would help the natives to reconstruct their lives.

The damage caused to infrastructure and other essential systems such as water, sewerage, accommodation facilities and catering facilities is the main setback to the success of post-earthquake tourism in Sichuan. Reconstruction of these systems would speed up the recovery of the industry and the economy of the region as a whole.

6.2 Recommendations

Tourism stakeholders should embrace post-earthquake tourism as the strategy to revive tourism in the region. This would introduce diversity in Sichuan tourism and hence attract more people.

Reconstruction of infrastructure especially roads and accommodation facilities should be prioritized. Increased accessibility would see the number of tourists increase. This is because most people who are willing to visit the province are dissuaded by the poor state of infrastructure.

After reconstruction and subsequent establishment of post-earthquake tourism, the stakeholders should endeavor to market the tourism products.  Marketing will inform people of the new attractions left behind by the disaster and pass a message that Sichuan is safe for tourism. Marketers should capitalize on electronic advertisement through radios, televisions and the internet as they are the most widely used sources of tourism information by potential tourist.





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