Residents' Subjective Well-Being and Support for Tourism Development: The Case of Alxa, China

Residents' Subjective Well-Being and Support for Tourism Development: The Case of Alxa, China

Manuel Alector Ribeiro (University of Surrey, UK), Chen Cui (University of Surrey, UK) and Kyle Maurice Woosnam (University of Georgia, USA & University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3156-3.ch004
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This study aims to identify the factors that influence subjective well-being and their support for tourism development. The questionnaire was first designed and distributed online to residents in Alxa. Data were analysed, and the results indicated that positive economic impacts, positive socio-cultural impacts, and positive environmental impacts influence subjective well-being. Residents' perceived negative economic impacts and negative environmental impacts influence negatively their subjective well-being. Also, positive environmental impacts of the tourism development are the most significant factor that affects residents' subjective well-being. Furthermore, subjective well-being was also found to positively influence residents' support for the tourism development in Alxa. Ultimately, based on the findings, this study proposed and discuss both theoretical and managerial implications, as well as the limitations and directions of further studies.
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Subjective well-being (SWB) is generally used to evaluate quality of life, and at the same time, within the tourism literature, has been shown to be significantly associated with perceptions of tourism development (Chi, Cai, & Li, 2017; McCabe & Johnson, 2013; O'Dell & Billing, 2005; Woo, Kim, & Uysal, 2015). SWB is regarded as a broad construct, containing both cognitive and affective components (Chi et al., 2017; McCabe & Johnson, 2013). Based on previous research (see Diener, 2009), Chi et al. (2017: p. 210) has defined cognitive and affective well-being as:

The affective well-being reflects individuals’ ongoing evaluations of the conditions in their lives. Whereas, the cognitive well-being requires cognitive processing: examining the conditions in their lives, weighing the importance of these conditions, and then evaluating their life on a scale ranging from dissatisfied to satisfied.

Based on extant research, one can argue that a bilateral relationship exists between local residents’ SWB and their perceptions of tourism development (Ridderstaat et al., 2016; Woo et al., 2015). More specifically, residents’ perspectives pertaining to the development of the tourism industry in a region affects SWB, which then has a significant bearing on level of support locals ascribe to tourism development (Chi et al., 2017; Diener, 2009; Ridderstaat et al., 2016). Prior studies have focused on identifying the factors that affect perceptions of tourism development, but minimal research has been undertaken that examines the relationship between such factors and residents’ SWB as well as the relationship between this SWB and reported support for the development of the tourism industry. Therefore, this study aims to bridge this gap (Chi et al., 2017; Diener, 2009; Ridderstaat et al., 2016; Woo et al., 2015), with the intent of exploring the causal relationship between perceived impacts of tourismand residents’ subjective well-being, which is proposed to inform individuals’ support for the development of the regional tourism industry.

Previous studies have highlighted the importance of various impacts related to tourism development, including perceived economic impacts (Andereck and Nyaupane, 2011; Dyer et al., 2007; Proença & Soukiazis, 2008), sociocultural impacts (Almeida-Garcia, Balbuena-Vásquez, & Cortés-Macias, 2016; Andereck et al., 2005; Besculides et al., 2002; García et al., 2015), as well as environmental impacts (Andereck et al., 2005; Costanza et al., 2007; McCombes et al., 2015; Yu et al., 2011). Most of such work has relied on quantitative data to examine the relationships involving these perceived impacts of tourism. Therefore, in terms of data analysis, regression analysis will be used to test the relationships between residents’ SWB and its antecedents and outcomes. Both negative and positive impacts, as well as cognitive and affective components of residents’ SWB, along with perceived support for tourism development within Alxa, China will be considered in the proposed model.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Quality of Life: As an individual's perception of their position in life.

Subjective Wellbeing: Describes how people experience the quality of their lives and includes both affective reactions and cognitive judgments.

Affective Wellbeing: Refers to the frequency and intensity of positive and negative emotions and mood.

Support for Tourism: Is the degree to which residents avaluate the effects of tourism in their community.

Cognitive Wellbeing: Refers to domain-specific and global evaluations of life.

Tourism Impacts: Include the effects of tourism on the environment and on destination communities, and its economic contributions.

Social Exchange Theory: Is a general sociological theory concerned with understanding the exchange of resources between individuals and groups in an interaction situation.

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