Tourism Resources and Ecotourism

The Demand for Forest-based Wellness Activities, Products and Destinations in Beijing

  • CONG Li , 1, * ,
  • HOU Yinghui 1 ,
  • Geoffrey WALL , 2, * ,
  • LU Anqi 1
  • 1. Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2. Department of Geography and Environmental Management, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L3G1, Canada
*CONG Li, E-mail: ;
Geoffrey WALL, E-mail:

Received date: 2021-07-28

  Accepted date: 2022-03-15

  Online published: 2023-02-21

Supported by

The Fundamental Research Funds of the Central University(2021SRZ01)


Forest-based wellness (FBW), the enhancement of health and well-being through activities in forested environments, is growing rapidly in China. This paper examines the demand for such experiences based on a survey of mainly young and middle-aged Beijing residents using quantitative analytical methods. There is a widespread demand for forest health and wellness which is considered in three parts: physical and mental health needs, demand for forest health and wellness products, and forest health and wellness destinations. Young and middle-aged people have more obvious needs for relaxation and stress release, whereas middle-aged and elderly people focus mainly on improving immunity and sleep quality, and alleviating cervical and lumbar spine diseases. Respondents prefer experience-based products, and “environment quality”, “infrastructure construction” and “professionals and their service quality” are particularly important. There is a significant positive correlation among the three types of demand. Finally, based on the characteristics of Beijing’s forest health and wellness needs, suggestions are provided for forest-based health products and tourism development.

Cite this article

CONG Li , HOU Yinghui , Geoffrey WALL , LU Anqi . The Demand for Forest-based Wellness Activities, Products and Destinations in Beijing[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2023 , 14(2) : 289 -298 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.02.007

1 Introduction

Forest-based wellness (FBW) has become an important issue in national strategic development and is receiving increasing academic attention. FBW originated in Germany. In the 1840s, the world’s first forest bathing base was established in the town of Bad Willishorn. Initially in Europe and America, FBW was called a “nature experience” or “interacting with nature” (Hartig and Evans, 1993). In Japan, forest health is called “Shinrin-yoku”, which means “forest bathing”, which comes from hot spring baths and sun bathing, and is also called “green shower”, “forest bath” or “forest therapy”. The terms combine therapy and science and originated in developed countries (Cong and Zhang, 2016).
Many countries have carried out research into FBW. The United States and Germany were the pioneers before 1980, whereas the initial development stage is represented by Japan and South Korea from 1980 to 2005. Since 2005 there has been world-wide interest, including facility construction and systemic research (Yang et al., 2018), focusing mainly upon empirical analyses of the health effects of FBW, types of development and evaluation research of FBW facilities (Liu and Wang, 2017). Research on FBW in China started late and the content lacks cohesion, being scattered across the meaning of concepts, convalescence and business models. However, through the emergence of advocacy and policies, such as promotion of healthy China, as well as forestry reforms that have influenced supply (Xin, 2019), FBW has become a significant way to promote the nation’s health. After more than 20 years of development, Beijing’s forest health and wellness industry and associated tourism have matured. Since 2010, the concept of forest health and wellness in Beijing has received foreign inputs through books, and invited experts from Japan, South Korea and other areas with more mature FBW development, to give training and lectures (Nan et al., 2019). “Technical Guidelines for the Construction of Forest Rehabilitation Bases” and “Certification Standards and Audit Guidelines for Forest Rehabilitation” have been issued to guide the construction of facilities in Beijing (Nan et al., 2019), taking Badaling National Forest Park and Songshan Nature Reserve as examples. Beijing has opened four batches of pilot applications for forest rehabilitation facilities, focusing on the encouragement of new FBW formats and environments, rehabilitation of individuals in forests, and the opening of leisure facilities and other products, in response to the 13th Five-Year Development Plan of the State Forestry Administration. The gradual improvement of road traffic conditions in Beijing has improved access to forested scenic spots.
According to the findings of the Chinese Health Association, Beijing has the highest proportion of less than healthy people among China’s 16 cities with a population of over one million. In the big cities, such as Beijing, work and living conditions impose greater pressures on residents, both physically and emotionally, and the stresses often have not been released appropriately. Residents also often suffer from cervical spine diseases, weakened immunity, and breathing problems. The positive effects of forest environments on human physical and mental health, including chronic diseases, have been confirmed. Forest tourism in Beijing is developing but the level of demand, the characteristics of participants, the benefits to residents, and related aspects of FBW facilities have yet to be determined. Therefore, it is necessary to survey residents concerning their uses of forested areas and FBW facilities, to determine future needs, and provide direction for the development of FBW products and facilities, in order to help to achieve the sustainable development of FBW. These are the objectives for this paper.

2 Research methods

2.1 Overview of the research site

Beijing is located in the North China Plain, surrounded by mountains on three sides, and is built on land that slopes overall from the northwest to the southeast. Beijing has a substantial forested area, with forests of many vegetation types, growing on diversified topography.
The distribution of forest resources in Beijing has obvious regional characteristics. Based on statistics from the Beijing Gardening and Greening Bureau, Figure 1 shows that nearly half of Beijing is forested. Forest resources are mainly concentrated in the mountainous areas of the north and west, and the southeast plains have less forest cover. Approximately three quarters of all forest parks in Beijing are within 60 km of the center of the city (Bian et al., 2011), and most of them are located near state roads or highways, so forested areas are reasonably accessible to residents of Beijing.
Fig. 1 Forest resources in 2020 of Beijing

Note: Source: Urban Planning Society of China.

In the 1980s, while replanting forests, Beijing also began to develop forest tourism. In 1980, Beijing’s first national-level Songshan Forest Tourist Area was established. From 1992 to the beginning of the 21st century, Beijing’s forest tourism development was developed further, with increased facilities, and more than ten forest parks and resorts were established. Since then, the forest tourism market has grown gradually, and tourism facilities and products have increased to cater to the expanding demand. The forest tourism supply in Beijing is led by forest parks, but there are also nature reserves, wild zoos and other forest areas (Song, 2014). There are 37 forest parks in Beijing, including 15 at the national level and 9 at the provincial and municipal levels, for a total area of 87329 ha, mainly distributed in the 6 suburbs of Changping, Daxing, Mentougou, Fangshan, Yanqing and Miyun (He, 2017). Thus, the forested land base for FBW in Beijing is substantial.

2.2 Data sources

Drawing upon research on forest health, sports medicine and chronic disease mitigation, forest health product types, and health facility development, a questionnaire was designed in five parts. The first part solicits information on the interviewee’s cognition and preferences, including whether or not they have participated in forest health activities and their preferences in terms of seasons and consumption. The second, third and fourth parts probe aspects of demand for physical and mental health support, forest health tourism products, and demand for destinations. The fifth section focuses upon demographic and socio-economic attributes. The questionnaire content facilitates the development of a scale comprised of twenty-two items.
The population of concern in this study is residents of Beijing, including migrant workers. However, since data acquisition was undertaken during the coronavirus epidemic, personal interviews and field surveys were not feasible and an online questionnaire survey was conducted from March 16 to May 2, 2020. The distribution of online questionnaires was undertaken mainly through Wenjuanxing (a platform with functions equivalent to Amazon Mechanical Turk) and WeChat using a snowball strategy. In addition, because older respondents were more difficult to obtain than younger ones, some respondents were asked to direct the survey to older respondents in order to gain more responses from seniors. A total of 431 questionnaires was distributed, of which 406 were returned and usable, for an effective rate of 94.2%. Quantitative statistical methods such as factor analysis, variance analysis and correlation analysis were used to analyze the data through application of SPSS 22.0.

2.3 Analytical methods

Based on questionnaire data for Badaling National Forest Park and Songshan National Forest Park, a combination of quantitative statistical analysis methods, including factor analysis, multiple response analysis, T-test and analysis of variance, correlation analysis and regression analysis, is used to explore Beijing’s FBW needs. First, principal component analysis is used to simplify and extract the common factors among the respondents. The maximum variance rotation method is used and an eigenvalue greater than 1 is employed as the standard to verify data dimensions. Secondly, multiple response analysis is carried out on the respondents’ selections to obtain the most popular FBW products. Thirdly, independent samples T-test and variance analysis are conducted on the demographic characteristics of the respondents, physical and mental health needs, and FBW product needs, in order to explore differences in the needs of different groups of people; Then, correlation analysis is employed to explore the relationships between different population characteristics and FBW products, FBW destination preferences, and between health needs, product needs and destination needs. Finally, regression analysis with destination demand as the dependent variable, demand for FBW products as the independent variable, and the demographic characteristics of the interviewees as control variables, is used to examine the relationships between needs.

3 Results

3.1 Demographic characteristics and demand dimensions

3.1.1 Demographic characteristics

The attributes of survey respondents are presented in Table 1. Women account for 56.7% and men 43.3% of the sample. It is not unusual to find a preponderance of female respondents in tourism surveys in China. In terms of age composition, more than half (55.2%) of the survey subjects are aged 30 years or less and only a small proportion (5.4%) are older than 60 years. Most respondents have college/university undergraduate education and above. The occupational distribution reveals that the proportion of students, company employees and professionals is relatively high, although retirees, civil servants and self-employed individuals are also included in the sample. In terms of distance between place of residence and the nearest forest park, 20.2% claim to be within a half-hour walk of such a place and, with the aid of transportation, the majority (52.2%) are able to reach a forest park within an hour. Overall, the questionnaire samples are active followers and potential users of the forest health care industry.
Table 1 Demographic characteristics of respondents (N=406)
Feature variables Type Percentage (%)
Gender Male 43.3
Female 56.7
Age 18-30 years 55.2
31-45 years 18.0
46-60 years 21.4
Over 60 years 5.4
Level of education Junior high school and below 5.4
Secondary/High school 8.4
College/University 57.4
Graduate and above 28.8
Monthly household income per capita (yuan) Less than 3000 19.5
3000-6000 25.4
6001-12000 27.1
12001-20000 15.3
More than 20000 12.8
Employment Retired 7.4
National civil servant 7.9
Private owners/individuals 6.4
General staff 24.6
Students 30.0
Professionals (e.g., doctors, teachers) 14.5
Military personnel 0.5
Other 8.6
Place of residence and nearest forest park distance Near forest park (no more than 30 minutes’ walk) 20.2
Arrival by transport within 1 hour 52.2
1-2 hour by transport 17.7
2 hours or more 9.9

3.1.2 Demand dimensions

The questionnaire has good internal consistency and high data reliability as revealed by a Cronbach α coefficient of 0.899 (>0.7) indicating that the data are suitable for factor analysis. Since the health and interests of younger and older respondents are expected to differ, respondents were divided into two groups according to age, 18-45 years and more than 46 years. Principal component analysis using the maximum variance rotation method is used to compress the data and extract the common factors of the two age groups and the main dimensions of the full sample.
As expected, there are marked differences between the age groups: stress relief and decompression, followed by disease prevention measures are prominent among the younger group, in contrast to the alleviation of chronic diseases in the older group. In more detail (Table 2), in terms of physical and mental health demand, two factors were extracted from the 18-45 years old age group, named “Demand for recreation” (healthy decompression needs) and “Chronic disease prevention and mitigation” needs. For the older group, which deals with more complaints, one factor which is named “Physical and mental health needs” is extracted.
Table 2 Factor analysis of the demand for FBW
Factor name Items Demand element
Factor loading coefficients 1 Factor loading coefficients 2
Demand for recreation
(18-45 years)
Relieve stress and improve mood 0.788
Improve sleep quality and relax nerves 0.707
Relieve fatigue and enhance aesthetic experience 0.797
Improve immunity, strengthen physique 0.590
Chronic disease prevention and mitigation needs
(18-45 years)
Prevention or remission of cervical or lumbar diseases 0.707
Prevention or mitigation of respiratory diseases 0.809
Prevention or relief of hypertension 0.872
Prevention or mitigation of other chronic diseases 0.886
Physical and mental health needs (46 and over) Prevention and mitigation of respiratory diseases 0.786
Prevention or relief of hypertension 0.843
Prevention and remission of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases 0.870
Prevention or remission of endocrine system diseases, diabetes, etc. 0.792
Prevention or mitigation of rheumatoid or arthritis 0.809
Prevention or remission of cervical or lumbar diseases 0.866
Improve sleep quality and relax nerves 0.822
Relieve stress and feel good 0.789
Improve immunity, strengthen physique 0.811
Demand for FBW products Forest-led products 0.561
Forest sports products 0.639
Forest experience products 0.591
Forest-assisted products 0.798
Popular science education products 0.668
Health management services (health consultation / physical examination / health file management, etc.) 0.786
FBW destination demand Forest landscape enrichment 0.787
Environmental quality 0.807
Infrastructure construction 0.800
Richness of healthy experience 0.657
Internal and external transport convenience 0.711
Perfect degree of scenic spot supervision and management 0.781
Professionals and the quality of their services 0.771
Aesthetic value of art 0.729
If the two groups are combined and analyzed as one, then other two dimensions emerge, namely “Demand for FBW products” and “Demand for FBW destinations”. The factor loading coefficients all exceed 0.5, again confirming the questionnaire design and the resulting scale have good structure, accurate division of dimensions and statistical significance.

3.2 Demand for FBW health

3.2.1 Respondents’ stress perception and chronic diseases

Most previous research has been conducted on sub-healthy groups, such as middle-aged and elderly chronic disease patients, and younger individuals experiencing mental health pressures of various kinds. The effects of FBW on such groups are confirmed. The survey responses reveal that most younger respondents experience pressure, often considerable pressure (Table 3). Among older people, only one third have no chronic diseases and a variety of such maladies is experienced (Table 3). Also, 29% of this group report hypertension. In fact, almost all respondents in the urban population, regardless of age, report some degree of stress, but most of the older group also experience chronic diseases, which make them a particularly large potential market for FBW products, and it also explains the emphasis on such people in earlier research.
Table 3 Pressure perception and Chronic diseases perception of different ages
Different ages Malady Perception Percentage (%)
18-45 years old (N=297) Pressure Large and hard to bear 10.1
Substantial pressure 65.7
Mild pressure 21.9
Easy, no pressure 2.4
Over 45 (N=109) Chronic diseases Cervical or lumbar disease 32.1
No chronic diseases 30.3
Hypertension 29.0
Respiratory diseases (rhinitis, bronchitis, pharyngitis, COPD, etc.) 27.5
Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Diseases 12.8
Rheumatoid or arthritis 12.8
Diseases of the nervous system (migraine, insomnia, etc.) 11.0
Endocrine diseases (diabetes, etc.) 7.3
Other 6.4

3.2.2 Demand for physical and mental health

The findings can be refined by reviewing respondents’ ratings of maladies on Likert scales, where 3.0 represents a neutral evaluation, and higher numbers represent increasing importance to a maximum of 5.
Table 4 shows that, in terms of physical and mental health needs, “Relieve fatigue and enhance aesthetic experience” has the highest score for the younger group, but “Relieve stress, relieve mood”, “Improve immunity, strengthen physical fitness” and “Improve sleep quality, relax nerves” also score strongly. These people are mainly concerned with fitness, relaxation and decompression. In contrast, for the older group, improvement of immunity and sleep quality are the two most significant items. In addition, demand for treatment of cervical or lumbar spine diseases is particularly obvious among the chronic diseases. In general, in terms of health needs of young and middle-aged people, attention should be paid to alleviating fatigue, stress and improving immunity; in terms of the health needs of middle-aged and elderly people, in addition to improving immunity and relaxation, we should also pay attention to the prevention and mitigation of chronic diseases.
Table 4 Descriptive statistics for health demands in FBW
Group Demand Scales for needs Average SD
18-45 years (N=297) Demand for recreation Relieve visual fatigue and enhance aesthetic experience 3.92 0.891
Relieve stress and mood 3.83 0.908
Improve immunity, strengthen physique 3.73 0.928
Improve sleep quality and relax nerves 3.64 0.977
Chronic disease prevention and mitigation needs Prevention or mitigation of respiratory diseases 3.45 1.090
Prevention or remission of cervical or lumbar diseases 3.43 1.041
Prevention or mitigation of other chronic diseases 3.13 1.132
Prevention or relief of hypertension 3.03 1.136
Over 45 (N=109) Physical and mental health needs Improve immunity, strengthen physique 3.83 1.246
Improve sleep quality and relax nerves 3.70 1.280
Relieve stress and feel good 3.69 1.252
Prevention or remission of cervical or lumbar diseases 3.53 1.229
Prevention and mitigation of respiratory diseases 3.36 1.251
Prevention or relief of hypertension 3.31 1.386
Prevention and remission of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases 3.29 1.196
Prevention or mitigation of rheumatoid or arthritis 3.18 1.348
Prevention and mitigation of diseases of the endocrine system 3.10 1.209

3.3 Demand for FBW products

3.3.1 Description of the demand for FBW products

Table 5 shows that the preferences for forest-oriented and forest-experience products are particularly high, rather than for specific human-made facilities. There is a primary desire to benefit from interaction with the natural environment, through sightseeing and being in a forest. Accommodation and lodging experiences are secondary, and the demand for health management services is generally not high. This may reflect the current low development level of health management services, such as the lack of professional and trusted health management personnel. However, variation in demand may occur from people with different attributes, such as age, gender and place of residence. These are explored using T tests and analysis of variance. Perhaps surprisingly, no significant differences (P>0.05) are found with respect to age, gender and educational background, suggesting that the natural forested environment itself is of greatest interest, as opposed to facilities and services, regardless of demographic status.
Table 5 Descriptive statistics of demand for FBW products (N=406)
Demand Demand for FBW products Average SD
Demand for FBW products Forest dominant (ecological sightseeing / forest bath / forest treadmill etc.) 3.94 0.929
Forest experience (accommodation experience / picking / traditional Chinese medicine physiotherapy, etc.) 3.77 0.958
Forest sports (forest yoga / tai chi / directional expansion, etc.) 3.33 1.089
Popular Science Education (Museums/Forest Education/Field Classes etc.) 3.32 1.049
Forest support type (rehabilitation center recuperation / health care, etc.) 3.13 1.096
Health management services (health consultation / physical examination / health file management, etc.) 2.98 1.112
In contrast, significant (P<0.05) differences are found according to place of residence and occupation. Those living in the suburbs have significantly higher demand for FBW products than those living more centrally, reflecting greater ease of access for such people and, indeed, their places of residence may reflect choices to live close to relatively natural environments and away from the congested inner city. In terms of occupation, the self-employed, doctors/teachers and other professionals have significantly higher demand for FBW products than other groups. Such people may be more willing to invest in health costs because of greater health awareness and leisure time.

3.3.2 Preference for FBW products

Respondents were asked whether or not they had an interest in each of 11 types of common forest health products and the results are presented in Table 6.
Table 6 Percentage of respondents interested in FBW products (N=406)
FBW products Percentage (%)
Forest air 84.0
Forest landscape therapy 68.5
Forest food experience 63.5
Hiking in the forest 61.6
Forest spa 58.9
Forest accommodation experience 58.1
Forest meditation 54.7
Forest horticulture therapy 51.2
Traditional Chinese medicine therapy 39.7
Forest yoga / Forest tai chi 39.9
Forest cultural experience 32.0
Other 1.2
All options received approximately one third or more positive responses, revealing a substantial interest in FBW forest products of all types. This shows that most FBW products have potential value. The most popular products, as revealed in most positive responses, are “breathing the forest air”, “forest landscape therapy”, “forest food experience” and “hiking in the forest”. It can be seen that there is more interest in sensory-based FBW products at the current development stage.

3.4 Demand for FBW Destinations

In terms of the demand for health care resources and facilities, the overall average scores are quite high: all items score greater than 3.5 (Table 7). Among them, the three elements of “health care environmental quality”, “infrastructure” and “professionals and the quality of their services” have the highest demand, with an average value greater than 4.0. This suggests that there is still a lot of room for development in the construction of FBW destinations. FBW facilities are important aspects of the experience (environmental quality, facilities and services) that are of concern and needed as expressed by the respondents. These constitute bases for the development of FBW in all destinations.
Table 7 Descriptive statistics of demand for FBW destinations (N=406)
Demand Demand for FBW destinations Average SD
FBW destination demand Healthy environmental quality (temperature, humidity, cleanliness, noise, etc.) 4.18 0.867
Infrastructure construction (roads, seats, toilets, etc.) 4.01 0.834
Professionals and the quality of their services 4.00 0.837
Forest landscape enrichment 3.97 0.833
Excellent scenic spot supervision and management 3.97 0.813
Internal and external transport convenience 3.94 0.838
Aesthetic value of art 3.89 0.814
Richness of health experience 3.76 0.880

3.5 Correlation between different demand dimensions

Given that the sample sizes and the dimensions of physical and mental health are different between the two main age groups, the data for each group were analyzed separately and only within-group correlations are highlighted. The results are presented together in one table (Table 8).
Table 8 Results of correlation analysis of demand variables
Variables Physical and mental health—recreation and physical stress
(18-45 years)
Physical and mental
health-chronic disease
prevention or relief
(18-45 years)
Physical and mental health needs
(45 years old)
Requirements for
related elements
of health base
for FBW
Physical and mental health—recreation and physical stress (18-45 years) 1 - - - -
Physical and mental health—chronic disease prevention or relief (18-45 years) 0.523** 1 - - -
Physical and mental health needs (45 years old) - - 1 - -
Health base and facility requirements 0.485** 0.383** 0.406** 1 -
Demand for FBW products 0.492** 0.548** 0.555** 0.503** 1

Note: *P<0.05; **P<0.01. The same below.

With reference to Table 8, to be significant at the 0.01 level, correlation coefficients must exceed 0.3. All are greater than 0.4, indicating significant correlations among the variables. As may be expected, those with higher physical and mental health challenges express greater needs for FWB opportunities and facilities, and indicate a greater demand for such products.
In order to further illustrate the relationship between variables, linear regression analysis was conducted on the combined sample with the demand for FBW products as the independent variable, and the age, gender, occupation, per capita monthly household income, education and residence area of informants as the control variables, and the demand for FBW destinations as the dependent variable. The VIF values in the model are all less than 5, which means that there is no collinearity problem; and the D-W value is near 2, which means that the model does not have autocorrelation. Table 9 shows a significant positive relationship at the 0.01 level between the demand for FBW products and the demand for related facilities, with a regression coefficient of 0.448 (standardized 0.496). However, the R2 value of 0.301 (0.368) suggests that, in spite of statistical significance, the predictive power of the relationship is not high. In short, although there is a statistically significant positive
relationship, with an explanation degree of 31.3%, the predictive power of product demand for demand for facilities is not strong, perhaps because the former depends heavily on natural rather than built environments.
Table 9 Regression analysis of demands for products and facilities
Variables Non-standardized coefficient Standardized coefficients t P
B SE Beta
Constant 1.835 0.222 - 8.253 0.000**
Demand for FBW products 0.448 0.038 0.496 11.775 0.000**
Age -0.040 0.031 -0.061 -1.282 0.200
Gender 0.168 0.057 0.127 2.972 0.003**
Vocational -0.033 0.016 -0.087 -1.994 0.047*
Monthly household income per capita 0.060 0.024 0.117 2.527 0.012*
Education 0.101 0.040 0.117 2.541 0.011*
Area of residence 0.014 0.008 0.071 1.634 0.103

4 Discussion

This paper has explored Beijing residents’ physical and mental health needs and their demand for FBW products and destinations. More than 80% of respondents expressed an interest in FBW opportunities, which is consistent with Xu Chunxiao’s conclusion that most urban residents have a demand for accessible ecotourism products (Xu, 2003). However, the research sample are the attributes of those who tend to be most active as tourists and, as such, probably include those who are among the most frequent uses of forest parks. Nevertheless, the results should be treated with caution, regarded as suggestive rather than definitive.
In terms of physical and mental health needs, middle-aged and younger people expressed interest in forest rehabilitation to “relieve visual fatigue, and enhance aesthetic experience”, “relieve stress, and soothe their mood”, and “improve immunity, and strengthen physical fitness”. In contrast, middle-aged and elderly people wished to improve immunity and sleep quality, as well as to treat chronic diseases. This is concurs with Kasetani’s (2009) conclusions that forest leisure and recreational activities can be effective in relaxing the body and mind, and Park et al.’s (2011) conclusion that forested environments are pleasant and relaxing. The results verify that demand for FBW is conducive to participants’ physical and mental health. The demand is centered upon the experience of being in the forest itself, rather than on the provision of specific medical facilities, although provision of easy access and a minimum level of facility provision (trails, washrooms) are required. Deng suggested that it is useful to differentiate the clientele: for example, activities with “movement” and “quiet” should be provided for the young and the elderly respectively (Deng, 2016). Xu pointed out that, nowadays, tourism products are commonly directed at the needs of specific user groups, but tourists have multi-faceted needs and appreciate variety (Xu, 2015). Thus, for example, the forest environment can be used and appreciated in many different ways by the same person, and it can also cater to a diverse audience. Therefore, the provision of a breadth of experiences, while catering to the needs of different groups, is a challenge that must be faced by managers. In addition, suburban residents have higher demand for FWB than urban residents. Also, no significant differences in demand for forest products were found in association with age and gender, but there is a significant positive correlation between physical and mental health, and FWB products and destination needs.
The current health tourism market, especially that for forest-based wellness (FBW) tourism, lacks segmentation and differentiation. For example, forest tourism products such as summer tourism, hot spring tourism, and ecotourism lack innovation in health and wellness characteristics, and are not significantly different from traditional products (Deng et al., 2022). Affected by factors such as gender, age, personality, cultural background, and physical and mental state, there will be individual differences in recuperation. Past research has paid more attention to the effects of forest environments and forest recuperation effects (Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau, 2018) and only a few scholars have paid attention to differences in the needs of varied target groups. The clientele should be segmented according to activities and experiences sought. Deng (2016) believed that different health care activities based on “movement” and “quietness” should be carried out for the young and the elderly respectively. There is a lack of research into differences based on health needs, product preferences, and variations in forest environments.
Based on the above research results and the current situation of FBW development in Beijing, some suggestions are put forward for the development of FBW tourism:
(1) Since needs are not homogeneous, innovative concepts and a diversity of products and delivery systems are required to satisfy the diverse clientele. Forest health care can be personalized so as to meet varied needs by designing diverse products with clear functions and distinctive features, making use of varied resources and environments. For example, offerings could be designed for family groups to support child growth and the maintenance of parent-child relationships, for middle-aged and young groups to relieve stress and anxiety, and for middle-aged and elderly groups with mobility problems. In addition, FBW and culture can be combined to provide participants with new experiences while promoting philosophy, history and traditions.
(2) Publicity should be strengthened through targeted marketing. Although expressing general interest, the public does not currently know much about forest health opportunities, so effective marketing is required. Guidance is required so that government departments and community institutions may better understand and appreciate the positive roles of FBW in natural resources management, the health and wellness industry, and healthy lifestyles Mainstream news media and the internet can be used to carry out a variety of publicity activities targeting citizens to spread awareness of the FBW concept, perhaps employing celebrity endorsements. As FBW is at an early stage of development, promotional activities should be held regularly at forest health care facilities to create awareness and publicity, such as free experiential activities on short forest trips, and parent-child forest adventure experiences. The greater use of social media platforms, such as Mafengwo, is highly recommended.
(3) Multi-departmental and cross-industry cooperation should be encouraged, starting with pilot projects to introduce industry standards. The 19th CPC National Congress proposed the building of an ecological civilization, and the forest health industry is in line with this objective. For it to thrive, governments need to provide the necessary policy support as a basis for its operation and management. Mechanisms for the further development of scenic spots, strengthening of leadership, departmental responsibilities, and work obligations should be established through policies, regulations and systems that will accelerate the development of product offerings. Further attention is also required to the environmental protection of forested areas, regional ecological - economic development, the protection of intellectual property, and education in popular sciences. At the same time, it is necessary to improve the interpretation system and service delivery through the development of service standards, and to achieve scale efficiencies and areas of specialization. The certification of FBW products, projects and facilities, and the training of forest therapists to specified standards are all required.
(4) Coordination between protection and development is required, especially for tourism, and regarding infrastructure. The forests in scenic spots are already under great pressure and some have experienced serious environmental damage. The environmental impacts caused by human activities bring development and protection into conflict. In the development of FBW tourism, attention must be paid to the protection and development of forests and, in order to achieve sustainable development, the integrity of local forestry must be vigorously maintained. In addition, infrastructure enhancement is required to improve access, and provide attractive and comfortable conditions for participants.

5 Conclusions

Empirical research supports the conclusion that sub-healthy populations in Beijing have considerable demand for forest health products and destinations. Middle-aged and younger people in Beijing often experience emotional pressures, and chronic diseases are common among older groups. There is a significant positive correlation among physical and mental health conditions, interest in FBW products and demand for FBW destinations. Nevertheless, more than half of interviewees said that they had not participated in forest health activities, although most expressed their willingness to participate. In terms of physical and mental health, young and middle-aged people have more obvious needs for physical fitness and stress reduction opportunities, whereas older people mainly focus on the improvement of immunity, sleep quality and the alleviation of cervical and lumbar diseases. Forest-oriented and experiential products are the core of product demand, rather than medical facilities per se, and there are significant differences in product demand for those in different occupations and living in suburban areas rather than the city center. Willingness to spend is positively correlated with product demand. Opportunity to be in and experience quality forested environments is key and more important than the facilities and services available, although destinations that can offer a broad array of FBW offerings are likely to be preferred. The destination environment is most important, but attractive locations with facilities and services have the highest demand. Populations with different characteristics have significant differences in the destination demand. There are significant differences in the demand for FBW destinations by gender, occupation and education. However, breadth of product offerings and destination attributes is widely appreciated, making it likely that well-developed FBW destinations will be attractive to a diverse tourism clientele.
Beijing Municipal Forestry and Parks Bureau. 2018. High pressure? Annoyed? Come back to nature for forest recuperation.

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