Original Articles

Tourist Cognition of Sense of Place in Tourism Attractions

  • 1. College of Urban and Environmental Science, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China;
    2. Center for Recreation and Tourism Research, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Received date: 2009-01-18

  Revised date: 2009-05-20

  Online published: 2009-10-16

Supported by

Beijing Natural Science Foundation, No.8092016


The elements of the sense of place in tourism attractions generate various tourist-experience designs, and they act the role of guiding tourists with diversified cultural backgrounds to gain assorted experiences and cognition, which form the comprehensive sense of tourist-experience. "Sense of Place" is an academic concept consisting of two aspects: the objective characteristics of place and the subjective cognition from human beings. And sense of place in tourism attractions contains two parts: place identity and place dependence. Place identity derives from the visitors' perception, emotion, and it is sensory to the place characteristics and the visitors' reflection of the place authenticity. Place dependence primarily originates from the experiences of functional elements of the place. On the basis of summarizing the elements of sense of place in tourism attractions, this paper formed a framework of measuring system of three parts: the background of place of the tourism attraction, the background of tourists, and the contents of the sense of place. The three parts are subdivided into 11 factors: 1) the diversity of cultural background of the tourist place; 2) the category of the main landscape; 3) the gender of tourists; 4) the age of tourists; 5) the occupation of tourists; 6) the level of education of tourists; 7) the sense of place of tourism attraction before visiting; 8) the characteristics of place; 9) the authenticity of place; 10) the dependence of place; and 11) the comprehensive evaluation of satisfaction. Under the framework of measuring system, the paper conducts a questionnaire, on a sample pool of 397 representative tourists to investigate the cognition of visitors' sense of place of tourism attractions and then uses Pearson correlation analysis to examine the cognitive variables of sense of place. The correlation analysis shows that factor 1 "the diversity of cultural background of the tourist place" is the most significant factor of sense of place of tourism attractions; factor 4 "the age of tourists", factor 6 "the level of education of tourists", and factor 7 "the sense of place of tourism attraction before visiting" have positive impact to some extent. The paper further indicates that the sense of place of tourism attraction is an essential element in evaluating the satisfaction of tourists with tourism attraction. In  conclusion, this paper discusses the regular pattern of visitors' cognition of sense of place, and gives some suggestions to the development, planning and management of tourism attractions.

Cite this article

HONG Fang, Huang-Xiao-Hui, Shu-Xi . Tourist Cognition of Sense of Place in Tourism Attractions[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2009 , 64(10) : 1267 -1277 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200910012