Eco-efficiency and its determinants at a tourism destination: A case study of Huangshan National Park, China

Hongsong Peng, Jinhe Zhang, Lin Lu, Guorong Tang, Bingjin Yan, Xiao Xiao, Ya Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


This study creates a comprehensive evaluation index system, including undesirable outputs and a Slacks-Based Measure-Data Envelopment Analysis model, to analyse the characteristics and evolution of eco-efficiency at an individual tourism destination. This study also empirically identifies the determinants of eco-efficiency. Huangshan National Park, one of the most iconic and highly visited national parks in China, was chosen as the study site. The study results indicate that eco-efficiency has improved continuously. Pure technical efficiency is higher than scale efficiency, while eco-efficiency is more relevant to scale efficiency than to pure technical efficiency. The evolution of eco-efficiency undergoes four stages: an initial inefficient stage, a rapid growth stage, a mature efficient stage and a downside risk stage. Moreover, tourism development, industrial structure and technical level have significantly positive impacts on eco-efficiency, but investment level displays the opposite trend. Environmental regulation emphasizing waste control does not effectively promote eco-efficiency. Finally, theoretical and practical contributions of the findings are discussed in the context of eco-efficiency at a tourism destination. For instance, an eco-efficiency analysis of a destination should treat the tourism destination as a macro-scale system with complex evolutionary rules and should combine this perspective with theory, such as the tourist area cycle of evolution proposed by Butler in 1980.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-211
Number of pages11
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Huangshan National Park
  • Time series SBM-DEA model
  • Tobit regression analysis
  • Tourism destination
  • Tourism eco-efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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