Heritage interpretation as a tool for sustainable management of national parks in China

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Chen, H & Weiler, B 2017, 'Heritage interpretation as a tool for sustainable management of national parks in China', in C Lee, S Filep, JN Albrecht, WJL Coetzee (eds), CAUTHE 2017: Time for Big Ideas? Re-thinking the Field for Tomorrow, Dunedin, New Zealand, 7-10 February, pp. 278-287. ISBN: 9780473388195.

Peer Reviewed



The first national park in China was established just thirty years ago, yet they already number in the thousands. In addition to achieving environmental conservation and recreation benefits typical of national park systems in the West, this rapid expansion has been driven by regional economic and employment goals. In view of the need to sustainably manage current and future national parks in China, managers cannot afford to ignore the role of heritage interpretation. To do this effectively, Western best practice principles of heritage interpretation in China's national parks need to be applied, tested and in some cases adapted to align them with Chinese culture, values and philosophy. Harnessing interpretation to satisfy visitors, to connect visitors to the parks they visit, and to foster a sense of caring and stewardship for China's national parks is critical to achieving the experiential, economic and environmental outcomes associated with sustainable park management.