Zipf Structure and Difference Degree of Tourist Flow Size System:A Case Study of Sichuan Province

  • 1. Department of Urban and Resources Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. Urban-rural Planning and Landscape Design Institute, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610068, China;
    3. College of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610068, China;
    4. Architecture and Environment College of Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China;
    5. Zhenjiang Urban Planning Department, Zhenjiang 212001, China

Received date: 2006-06-21

  Revised date: 2006-09-19

  Online published: 2006-12-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40371030; Key Project of Science and Technology Foundation of Sichuan Province, No.05ZR025-111


The Zipf theory is the law to study the relation between word frequency and word sequence which is now extensively used in city size structure, city spatial fractal, economics, sociology, and so on. From supposition to discussion, this paper proves that tourist flow size grading structure is in conformity with the Zipf theory in aid of the Zipf and difference degree index. The scaling section feature and internal structural difference in each scaling range of domestic and inbound tourist flow size grading structure in Sichuan province were studied in this paper based on statistic data of domestic tourist flow from 1996 to 2004. The result shows that tourist flow size grading structure has possessed the Zipf feature, even could be sectioned by fractal dimension scaling in certain years, and the bifurcation points of each scaling range can be determined by regression equations. The scaling section may be divided into two types, which are effective and ineffective scaling sections. Viewing from the tourism development in Sichuan province, the space distribution area of tourist flow ineffective scaling section is reducing and effective scaling section area is increasing. The Zipf index can be used to divide the scope of each scaling section and analyze the internal structural feature of effective scaling section and the changing law of the tourist flow size grading structure. For the region without the unobvious Zipf feature, equilibrium degree and difference index can be used to study the difference of the internal structure. The study shows that the results of effective scaling section being analyzed by the Zipf index and ineffective scaling section by equilibrium degree and difference index accord with the objective reality, also clearly reflect the structure scaling section feature, the internal structural difference of each section and the changing law of the total structure system. This is very important to enrich the methods of analyzing tourist flow size grading structure. Concerning the tourist flow size structure in Sichuan province, the Zipf index "q" of domestic tourist flow is mostly between one and two before 2002, and the size grading structure system assumes Pareto distribution pattern; after 2003, the Zipf index "q" further reduces and the tourist flow size structure is turning to logarithmic regular distribution pattern.

Cite this article

YANG Guoliang, ZHANG Jie, AI Nanshan, LIU Bo . Zipf Structure and Difference Degree of Tourist Flow Size System:A Case Study of Sichuan Province[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2006 , 61(12) : 1281 -1289 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200612005


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