Nature-Based Tourism in a City Destination: Balancing Planning with Sustainability

  • Tony S. M. TseEmail author
  • Bruce Prideaux
  • Winnie K. L. Chui
Part of the Perspectives on Asian Tourism book series (PAT)


Hong Kong, like many large cities, has developed a substantial urban-focused tourism sector but has largely ignored the potential of its surrounding natural areas to contribute to its overall suite of tourism experiences. About 40% of Hong Kong has been designed as country parks and special areas. This chapter investigates the potential of Hong Kong to expand its portfolio of attractions to include nature-based experiences. A qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews was used to gather the views of the local stakeholders on the potential for developing nature-based tourism in Hong Kong. Participants were generally supportive but however raised a number of issues that needed to be addressed prior to further development of natural areas. Issues raised included the impact on the local community, the need for independent planning processes, and the concerns about potential negative impacts on the environment.


Nature-based tourism Sustainability Community involvement Geopark Hong Kong 


  1. Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). (2015). Country parks and special areas distribution map. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  2. Beeton, S. (2006). Community development through tourism. Melbourne: Landlinks Press.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, R. W. (1980). The concept of a tourist area cycle of evolution: Implications for management of resources. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien, 24(1), 5–12. Scholar
  4. Chan, Y. W & Fung, Y. H. (2009) No, we are not ‘eco-tourists’: Hill-walking and eco-tourism in Hong Kong. In: Singh S (ed) Domestic tourism in Asia: Diversity and divergence. Taylor & Francis, Oxon, p 219–234.Google Scholar
  5. Dredge, D., & Jamal, T. (2015). Progress in tourism planning and policy: A post-structural perspective on knowledge production. Tourism Management, 51, 285–297. Scholar
  6. Elkington, J. (2004). Enter the triple bottom line. In A. Henriques & J. Richardson (Eds.), The triple bottom line: Does it all add up (pp. 1–16). London: Earthscan Publications.Google Scholar
  7. Faux, J. (2005). Theoretical and practical contexts of triple bottom line performance and reporting: Implications for the tourism sector. Tourism Review International, 9(1), 95–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fredman, P., & Tyrväinen, L. (2010). Frontiers in nature-based tourism. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism, 10(3), 177–189. Scholar
  9. GovHK. (2016). Hong Kong: The facts – Country parks and conservation. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  10. Henderson, J. C., Koh, A., Soh, S., & Sallim, M. Y. (2001). Urban environments and nature-based attractions: Green tourism in Singapore. Tourism Recreation Research, 26(3), 71–78. Scholar
  11. Hong Kong Tourism Board. (2016). A statistical review of Hong Kong Tourism 2015. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  12. Hong Kong Tourism Board. (n.d.). Po Toi Island. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  13. Jennings, G. (2001). Tourism research. Sydney: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Lands Department. (2014). How to apply for a small house grant. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  15. Lonely Planet. (2013). Ten of the world’s best city hike. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  16. Lundmark, L., & Müller, D. K. (2010). The supply of nature-based tourism activities in Sweden. Turizam: znanstveno-stručni časopis, 58(4), 379–393.Google Scholar
  17. National Geographic. (2013). World’s best hikes: 20 dream trails. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  18. Paskaleva-Shapira, K. A. (2007). New paradigms in city tourism management: Redefining destination promotion. Journal of Travel Research, 46(1), 108–114. Scholar
  19. Pérez, V., Guerrero, F., González, M., Pérez, F., & Caballero, R. (2013). Composite indicator for the assessment of sustainability: The case of Cuban nature-based tourism destinations. Ecological Indicators, 29, 316–324. Scholar
  20. Pickering, C. M., & Hill, W. (2007). Impacts of recreation and tourism on plant biodiversity and vegetation in protected areas in Australia. Journal of Environmental Management, 85(4), 791–800. Scholar
  21. Prideaux, B. (2013). Climate change and peak oil—Two large-scale disruptions likely to adversely affect long-term tourism growth in the Asia Pacific. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 2(3), 132–136. Scholar
  22. Priskin, J. (2001). Assessment of natural resources for nature-based tourism: The case of the central coast region of Western Australia. Tourism Management, 22(6), 637–648. Scholar
  23. Saarinen, J., & Tervo, K. (2006). Perceptions and adaptation strategies of the tourism industry to climate change: The case of Finnish nature-based tourism entrepreneurs. International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 1(3), 214–228. Scholar
  24. Singapore Tourism Board (STB). (2014). Tourism 50 1964–2014: A journey through 50 years & beyond: Singapore Tourism Board annual report 2013/14. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.
  25. Stankey, G., Cole, D., Lucas, R., Peterson, M., Frissell, S. & Washburne, R. (1985). The limits of acceptable change LAC system for wilderness planning (General Technical Report INT-176). Available via United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Accessed 26 Feb 2017.
  26. Steven, R., Pickering, C., & Castley, J. G. (2011). A review of the impacts of nature based recreation on birds. Journal of Environmental Management, 92(10), 2287–2294. Scholar
  27. Tangeland, T., & Aas, Ø. (2011). Household composition and the importance of experience attributes of nature based tourism activity products–A Norwegian case study of outdoor recreationists. Tourism Management, 32(4), 822–832. Scholar
  28. Teo, P., & Chang, T. C. (2000). Singapore: Tourism development in a planned context. In C. M. Hall & S. Page (Eds.), Tourism in south and southeast Asia (pp. p117–p128). Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Tosun, C. (2001). Challenges of sustainable tourism development in the developing world: The case of Turkey. Tourism Management, 22(3), 289–303. Scholar
  30. World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our common future (Brundtland Report). Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  31. World Wide Fund For Nature Hong Kong. (2016). Mai Po nature reserve. Accessed 1 Feb 2017.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony S. M. Tse
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bruce Prideaux
    • 2
  • Winnie K. L. Chui
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Hotel and Tourism ManagementThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong
  2. 2.School of Business and LawCentral Queensland UniversityRockhamptonAustralia

Personalised recommendations