Environmental behaviors of tourists in the desert destinations (Case Study: rural areas ofKhourand Biabanak Township

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant professor, Department of Geography and urban Planning, University of Mazandaran

2 -Assist. Prof., Faculty of Tourism Management, University Of Mazandaran, Iran.

3 M. A. student, in Tourism Planning- Ecotourism, University of Mazandaran


Ecotourism is a kind of tourism and a way of achieving sustainable development in rural areas which have high tourism capacities.The distinction between ecotourism and tourism lies in the characteristics of ecotourism, that is to say, the positive characteristics of an ecotourism arenature and culture of traveling activities, increasing public awareness about the environment, protection of the local environmental sources, the minimum impact of tourism, empowering local people and maximizing the financial benefits for local communities. Responsible environmental behavioris a prerequisite necessity and an important achievement for tourism sustainable development in rural areas. Environmental tourism destinations are affected directly and indirectly by tourists' behaviors and activities. The researchers are eager to study and scrutinizethe tourists' behaviors due to theirsevere impact on the environmental destinations. Studying the tourists' behaviorat various destinationisresearchers' and practitioners' priority and main concern. To this end, they adopted different terms such as responsible environmental behavior to describe the behaviors that reduce the negative environmental impacts and protect various environmental tourism destinations. Responsible environmental behavior indicates that the tourists should follow the norms ofresponsible traveling in various tourism destinations. Based on tourists' responsible environmental behavior assessment in tourism destinations, this research aims to measure the tourists' environmental behavior and the factors that influence these behaviors in the desert ecotourism destinations.
 Method of this study was based on a questionnaire survey research. Behavior wasa dependent variable and factors such as perceived value, destination image, loyalty, satisfaction and awareness wereconsidered as independent variables. The populationof this study was the tourists who traveled to this city and its rural areas in spring. The collected data were analyzed by SPSS software and the tests used in this study werebased on the nature of the collected data and the aim of the study was classified as descriptive and analytical data (only the participants' personal information was measured in descriptive data). In theanalytical results, at first items of each macro variables that affected behaviorwere combined with each other andwere analyzed by one-sample t-test. Then, path analysis was used to understand the influence of each independent variable on dependent variable (behavior).
Findings of the study
Based on theresponsible environmentalbehaviors and individual characteristics relationship, the results revealed that there is a significant relationship between age and degree of responsible environmental behavior, so that  and significant level is . Whereas the calculated error of measurement is <0.050, it can be claimed that two variables have relationshipat level of 0.050,also there wasa relationship between nominal variables, education level, job and degree of responsible environmental behavior except that gender had no relationship with responsible environmental behavior. The findings indicatedthat tourists followed the environmental behavior in rural areas of this region. And factors such as degree of awareness, perceived value, and mental image of destination, loyalty and satisfaction of travelling affected the environmental behaviors in rural areas of Khour and Biyabank. Based onthe path analysis results, interest to place (loyalty to the destination) had the maximal effect and tourists'mental image of destination had the minimal effect on the dependent variable of the study. According to the relationship of responsible environmentalbehaviors and individual characteristics, the results showed that there was a significant relationshipbetween age, education and degree of responsible environmental behavior.However,there was not any relationship between gender and behavior.
Discussion and Conclusion
In general, responsible environmental behavior was considered as a prerequisite necessity and an important achievement for rural areas' tourism sustainable development. Promotion of responsible environmental behavior conserved biodiversity and environmental attractiveness of tourism destination and aided in the growth and prosperity of these destinations. Therefore, responsible environmental behavior should be considered as an important factor in the various tourism destinations and should be adopted in sustainable way.According to the theoretical basis, variables such as tourists' awareness, tourists' perceived value, total satisfaction, tourists' mental image of destination and loyalty to the destination wereconsidered as the factors that influenced the responsible environmental behavior of tourists, therefore the results showedthat the tourists followed the responsible environmental behaviors in rural areas of this region. Other findings of this study indicated that among the variables that affected the tourists' environmental behavior, only the image of destination had an unpleasant situation. Therefore, the most important concernof tourists about the image of destination wasrelated to electronic reservation of products, low levels of education and local staffs'unfriendly behaviors to the customers in rural areas of this region.We used path analysis to understand the contribution of each independent variable on the dependent variable (behavior). The results of path analysis revealed that loyalty to destination was the most effective factor in tourist's responsible environmental behavior, meaning that if the tourists hadmore loyalty to the destination, they had showed higher responsible behaviors in that destination. After the degree of awareness, the perceived value, image of destination and loyalty to the destination affected the environmental behavior of tourists directly and indirectly.


  • منابع:

    • Axelrod, L. J., Lehman, D. R.,1993,responding to environmental concerns: whatfactors guide individual action?, Journal of Environmental Psychology,13(2),149e159
    • Ballantyne, R., & Packer, J., 2011,Using tourism free-choice learning experiences to promote environmentally sustainable behavior: the role of post-visit ‘action resources’, Environmental Education Research, 17(2), 201e215.
    • Bolton, R. N., & Drew, J. H., 1991,A multistage model of customers’ assessment of service quality and value, Journal of Consumer Research, 17, 375–384.
    • Chen, C. L.,2011 ,From catching to watching: moving towards quality assurance of whale/dolphin watching tourism in Taiwan, Marine Policy, 35, 10e17.
    • Cheng, T, M., Wu, H, C., & Huang, M, L., 2012,The influence of place attachment on the relationship between destination attractiveness and environmentally responsible behavior for island tourism in Penghu, Taiwan, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2013 Vol. 21, No. 8, 1166–1187
    • Chiu, T, H, Y., Wan, I, L., & Chen, H, T., 2014,Environmentally Responsible Behavior in ecotourism: Antecedents and implications, Tourism Management 40 (2014) 321e329.
    • Chiu, T, H, Y., Wan, I, L., & Chen, H, T., 2014,Environmentally Responsible Behavior in Ecotourism: Exploring the Role of Destination Image and Value Perception, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 2014 Vol. 19, No. 8, 876–889.
    • Chung, M, T., Wu, C, H., Huang, M, M., 2013,The influence of place attachment on the relationship between destination attractiveness and environmentally responsible behavior for island tourism in Penghu, Taiwan, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 2013 Vol. 21, No. 8, 1166–1187.
    • Crompton, J. L., 1979,An assessment of the image of Mexico as a vacation destination and the influence of geographical location upon that image, Journal of Travel Research, 17(4), 18–23.
    • Echnter, C. M., & Ritchie, J. R. B., 1993, the measurementof destination image: An empirical assessment, Journal of Travel Research, 31(4), 3–13.
    • Halpenny, E. A., 2010,Pro-environmental behaviours and park visitors: the effect of place attachment, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 30, 409e421.
    • Han, H., & Kim, W., 2009, Outcomes of relational benefits: Restaurant customer’s perspective, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 26(8), 820–835.
    • Han, H., Hsu, L. T. J., & Sheu, C.,2010, Application of the Theory of Planned Behavior to green hotel choice: testing the effect of environmental friendly activities, TourismManagement, 31, 325e334.
    • Honey, M., 2008,Ecotourism and sustainable development: Who own paradise? (2nded.). Washington, DC: Island Press.
    • Hsu, J, S., 2014,The Effects of an Environmental Education Program on Responsible Environmental Behavior and Associated Environmental Literacy Variables in Taiwanese College Students, The Journal of Environmental Education, 35:2, 37-48
    • Kim, A. K., Airey, D., & Szivas, E., 2011,The multiple assessment of interpretation effectiveness: promoting visitors’ environmental attitudes and behavior, Journal of Travel Research, 50(3), 321e334.
    • Kim, D., & Perdue, R. R., 2011,The influence of image on destination attractiveness, Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 28(3), 225–239.
    • Kim, S.-H., Holland, S.,& Han, H.-S.,2013,A structural model for examining how destination image, perceived value and service quality affect destination loyalty: A case study of Orlando. International Journal of Tourism Research, 15(4), 313–328.
    • Kollmuss, A., Agyeman, J., 2002,Mind the gap: why do people act environmentally26-and what are the barriers to pro-environmental behavior, Environmental Education Research, 8(3), 239e260.
    • Lee, H, T., Jan, H, F., & Yang, C, C., 2013,Conceptualizing and measuring environmentally responsible behaviors from the perspective of community-based tourists, Tourism Management 36 (2013) 454e468
    • Lee, S. P., & Lin, Y. J.,2001. The relationship between environmental attitudes and behavior of ecotourism: a case study of Guandu Natural Park, Journal of Outdoor Recreation Study, 14(3), 15e36, (in Chinese with English summary).
    • Lee, T. H., 2007,Ecotourism behavioural model of national forest recreation areas in Taiwan, International Forestry Review, 9(3) , 771e785.
    • Lee, T. H., 2011,How recreation involvement, place attachment, and conservation commitment affect environmentally responsible behavior, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(7), 895e915.
    • Lee, W. S., Graefe, A. R., & Hwang, D., 2013,Willingness to pay for an ecological park experience, Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 18(3), 288–302.
    • Meijers, M. H. C., & Stapel, D. A., 2011,Me tomorrow, the others later: how perspectivefit increases sustainable behavior, Journal of Environmenta Psychology, 3114e20.
    • Miller, G., Rathouse, K., Scarles, C., Holmes, K., & Tribe, J., 2010,Public understanding of sustainable tourism, Annals of Tourism Research, 37(3), 627e645.
    • Murphy, P. E., Pritchard, M. P., & Smith, B.,2000,The destination product and its impact on traveler perceptions, Tourism Management, 21(1), 43–52.
    • Nicolau, J. L., 2011,differentiated price loss aversion in destination choice: The effect of tourists’cultural interest, Tourism Management, 32(5), 1186–1195.
    • Orams, M. B., 1995,towards a more desirable form of ecotourism, Tourism Management, 16(1), 3e8.
    • Otto, J. E., & Ritchie, J. R. B., 1996,The service experience in tourism, Tourism Management, 17(3), 165e174.
    • Page, S. J., & Dowling, R. K., 2002,Ecotourism (themes in tourism), New York Prentice Hall
    • Petrick, J. F., 2004,The role of quality, value and satisfaction in predicting cruise passengers’ behavioral intentions, Journal of Travel Research, 42(4), 397–407.
    • Petrick, J. F., 2004,The role of quality, value and satisfaction in predicting cruise passengers’ behavioral intentions, Journal of Travel Research, 42(4), 397–407.
    • Phillips, W. J., Wolfe, F., Hodur, N., & Leistritz, F. L., 2013,Tourist word of mouth and revisit intentions to rural tourism destinations: A case of North Dakota, USA, International Journal of Tourism Research, 15(1), 93–104.
    • Phillips, W. J., Wolfe, F., Hodur, N., & Leistritz, F. L.,2013,Tourist word of mouth and revisit intentions to rural tourism destinations: A case of North Dakota, USA, International Journal of Tourism Research, 15(1), 93–104.
    • Powell, R. B., & Ham, S. H.,2008,Can ecotourism interpretation really lead to proconservation knowledge, attitude and behavior? Evidence from the Galapagos Islands, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 16(4), 467e489.
    • Rezvani M. R., Bayat N. 2014. Analyzing of rural tourism policies in development plans with focus on the five-year plans of national development, Iran. Journal of tourism planning and development 9: 11-30.
    • Sivek, D. J., & Hungerford, H.,1990,Predictors of responsible behavior in membersof three Wisconsin conservation organizations, The Journal of EnvironmentalEducation, 21(2), 35e40.
    • Stern, P. C., 2000,Toward a coherent theory of environmentally significantbehavior, Journal of Social Issues, 56(3), 407e424
    • Taiwan Ecotourism Association.,2011, Introduction for Taiwan Ecotourism Association. Retrieved from. http://www.ecotour.org.tw/p/blog-page_04.html.
    • Vaske, J. J., & Donnelly, M. P.,1999,A value-attitude-behavior model predicting wildland preservation voting intentions, Society & Natural Resources, 12(6),523e537.
    • Vaske, J. J., & Kobrin, K. C.,2001,Place attachment and environmentally responsible behavior, The Journal of Environmental Education, 32(4), 16e21.
    • Walker, G. J., & Chapman, R., 2003,thinking like a park: the effects of sense of place, perspective-taking, and empathy on pro-environmental intentions. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 21(4), 71e86.
    • Wallace, G. N., & Pierce, S. M., 1996,An evaluation of ecotourism in Amazonas-Brazil, Annals of Tourism Research, 23(4), 843e873
    • Weaver, D. B., 2001, Ecotourism. Milton, Qld: John Wiley & Sons Australia.
    • Yuan, J., Morrison, A. M., Cai, L. A., &Linton, S., 2008, A model ofwine tourist behaviour:Afestival approach, International Journal of Tourism Research, 10(3), 207–219.
    • Zeithaml, V. A., 1988, Consumer perceptions of price, quality and value: A means-end model and synthesis of evidence. Journal of Marketing, 52, 2–22.
    • Eftekhari, A. R., Mahdavi,D, (1385), rural tourism development strategies using SWOT model case study: Small Lavasan district, Madras Journal of the Humanities, Volume 10, Number 2, 10-30.
    • Salehi, S, Ghadami. M, Hemmati GouyomZ. 2012, Study of environmental behaviors among coastal tourists  (Case study: coastal tourists in Bushehr city during the New Year holiday), Quarterly Journal of the University of  Mazandaran  vol 1, No.1 ,
    • Salmani, M. Badri, S.A; Ghasabi,M.J;  and Ashornejad . GH. 2013. Evaluating the development of rating rural settlement for wilderness tourism development using Electre3 thecnic: acase study : Khor and Byabanak; geography and sustainability of environment; No6.
    • Statistic Center of Iran, 2011, Country  Villages  ID of Iran.