Recreational specialization and ecologically responsible behaviour of Chinese birdwatchers in Hong Kong

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Birdwatching is a popular nature-based recreational activity that has millions of participants worldwide. Hong Kong is an important birdwatching destination in Southeast Asia, and the number of birdwatchers visiting Hong Kong has steadily increased in recent decades. This study investigated the influences of recreational specialization on the pro-environmental attitudes and ecologically responsible behaviour of Chinese birdwatchers. Questionnaire surveys were conducted in Hong Kong, and 387 completed questionnaires were collected. The results of structural equation modelling indicate a direct positive association between the birdwatchers’ specialization and pro-environmental attitudes and an indirect positive association between their specialization and ecologically responsible behaviour. These findings suggest that understanding birdwatchers’ specialization is essential for predicting birdwatchers’ behaviour when visiting ecologically sensitive destinations. Birdwatcher specialization levels could be used to formulate visitor management strategies at birdwatching sites and to mitigate visitor impacts on avian species. Copyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)817-831
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number6
Early online dateNov 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Hong Kong
recreational activity
questionnaire survey
Southeast Asia
Environmental attitudes


Cheung, L. T. O., Lo, A. Y. H., & Fok, L. (2017). Recreational specialization and ecologically responsible behaviour of Chinese birdwatchers in Hong Kong. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 25(6), 817-831.


  • Wildlife
  • Recreational specialization
  • Ecologically responsible behavior
  • Pro-environmental attitudes
  • China
  • Hong Kong