Tourism-related consumption in relation to subjective well- being and sustainability

Student thesis: PhD Thesis


With the economic advancement, the quality of economic development cannot be merely represented by traditional economic indicators such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Rather, other important indicators such as happiness (or equivalently, subjective well-being) and the sustainable development of a region are more relevant to capture the multiple dimensions of human and regional development. Under the umbrella of the overall economy, tourism as a global export category is now one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world and is described by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation as “key to development, prosperity and well-being” (UNWTO, 2017). Against the background of growing concerns towards the human and regional development, the current thesis, which focuses on the tourism industry, examines tourism-related consumption in relation to the two themes namely, subjective well-being and sustainability, respectively.
Using both primary and secondary data, this current thesis not only investigated whether leisure consumption can promote the subjective well-being of the Chinese residents, but also uncovered the determinants and heterogeneity of the sustainable consumption behaviour of individuals. Using the choice modelling methods, the current thesis also estimated how much in monetary values that individuals would be willing to pay for sustainability. Theoretically, the research findings of the current thesis can advance literature into the mechanism of how tourism-related consumption may enhance subjective well-being and extend the understanding towards the sustainable consumption behaviour in the existing literature. In contrast to previous studies on sustainable consumption behaviour, which focus solely on the psychometric variables that may influence individuals’ decisions, the current thesis proposed and empirically investigated a systematic framework of how sustainable consumption choice were made, incorporating both internal individual-level variables and external situational factors. The literature on the heterogeneity of tourists in modelling tourists’ choice is further enriched by the findings of the current thesis, which establishes a link between tourist heterogeneity and the heterogeneity of product features.
The findings of the current thesis also bear important policy implications. Based on the findings of the current thesis, policy makers can design action plans to enhance residents’ subjective well-being via the tunnel of tourism-related consumption. Furthermore, based on the unravelled determinants of and estimated willingness to pay for sustainability-related product attributes, policy makers can develop customised pricing and promotion strategies. With the differentiation of offerings, the socioeconomic profitability, local environment, cultural heritage and well-being of residents can be enhanced to promote multi-faceted development of people and the region along with economic growth.
Date of AwardJul 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorChang Liu (Supervisor), Long Wen (Supervisor) & Gang Li (Supervisor)


  • tourism-related consumption
  • subjective well-being
  • sustainable consumption behaviour
  • ordered logistic regression
  • double-bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation
  • discrete choice modelling

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