### Abstract

The spatial structure of the source or market areas of tourists is basic to tourist geography. Although there are case studies on such issues as mathematical modeling of distance decay of tourists from a tourist site, its market potential and actual market structure, many questions remain. Take tourist distance decay for example. Whereas hypothetical theoretical curves have been suggested, no basic mathematical model based on case studies exists. In addition, the application of distance cumulative curve in tourist research is still limited to descriptions of the actual distribution of tourists, which is ineffective in analyzing the spatial structure of tourist market potential. Jiuzhaigou Conservation District, one of China's most picturesque tourist areas with numerous colorful lakes and waterfalls, is recognized by UNESCO as one of the world's natural heritage sites. Distance decay model is used to reveal the characteristics of its market area structure. Several types of distance cumulative curve are also used to reveal its market structure at varying distances from the site. A sample of more than 16 000 tourists was obtained from entrance registration which shows the they come from 235 cities and counties. Through regression analysis we calculated the main coefficients of the distance decay model and found that the best-fit model is the Pareto model with a distance decay exponent of 0.48. The next best are the lognormal model and square-root exponential model, while the normal model is unfit. As the relative coefficients of these models are not high enough, we used the gravity model to analyze distance decay versus the influence of population and economic growth. The result shows a distance decay exponent of 1.84 and a clear increase in relative coefficient to 0.70. Gravity model was also used to better understand how the sampled tourists declined proportionally with increasing distance from the site. The result shows the distance decay exponents range between 1.74 and 1.92. When per capita industrial and agricultural output is replaced with total industrial and agricultural output of cities and counties, the exponents range between 2.5 and 3.0. This study demonstrates that the several distance cumulative curves of the market areas of the site and the population of the market areas can be effectively used to analyze the spatial structure of the site's ultimate market area potentials.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 357-364 |

Number of pages | 8 |

Journal | Dili Xuebao/Acta Geographica Sinica |

Volume | 54 |

Issue number | 4 |

State | Published - Jan 1 1999 |

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### All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

### Cite this

*Dili Xuebao/Acta Geographica Sinica*,

*54*(4), 357-364.