Tourism Resources and Ecotourism

Wine Tourism in China: Resource Development and Tourist Perception

  • WANG Lei , 1 ,
  • LI Tao , 2, *
  • 1. School of Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Ningxia University, Zhongwei, Ningxia 755000, China
  • 2. School of Geography, Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
*LI Tao, E-mail:

WANG Lei, E-mail:

Received date: 2020-12-23

  Accepted date: 2021-10-25

  Online published: 2023-02-21

Supported by

The National Social Science Foundation of China(20BJY202)

The Key Project of R&D in Ningxia (Special for Talent)(2018BEB04015)

The National Natural Science Foundation of China(42001155)


With the rise of wine consumption in China, wine tourism is becoming increasingly popular. Research shows that wine resource development is profoundly impacted by tourist perception and satisfaction. To precisely understand the process and mechanism of tourists’ attitudes and preferences toward wine tourism resources in China, this paper employed a questionnaire survey to explore tourists’ perceptions of local wine tourism and resources from five dimensions by analyzing feedback from wine tourists in the east foothill of the Helan Mountain Wine Region of Ningxia. The main findings are threefold. (1) As emerging experiential tourism, wine tourism has distinct demographic characteristics in terms of income, age and the methods of travel. (2) Wine tourism resources are the most important factors influencing tourist satisfaction, while functional comfort is also highlighted for its charm and value. In addition, the quality of services has a significant impact on tourists’ support for wine tourism. (3) Remarkably, the findings show that the facilities condition, ecological environment and resource conservation exert little influence on tourist perception of wine tourism. However, these factors also deserve to be stressed for their important roles in establishing a positive atmosphere of wine tourism development. The results of this study have enriched our knowledge of wine tourism resource development and tourist perception.

Cite this article

WANG Lei , LI Tao . Wine Tourism in China: Resource Development and Tourist Perception[J]. Journal of Resources and Ecology, 2023 , 14(2) : 309 -320 . DOI: 10.5814/j.issn.1674-764x.2023.02.009

1 Introduction

The rise of wine tourism stems from the desirable and fantastic experience that relies heavily on wine resources. Since wine resources form the basis of the appeal in regional wine tourism, it is very important to engage in the scientific development planning of wine tourism resources, not only to ensure the mutual coordination of resource use, ecological conservation, economic growth, and employment promotion, but also to effectively transform the regional resource advantages into wine tourism attractions as well as market and brand advantages. In particular, the new national territorial space plan and the integrated standardization of the multi-plan have set out procedures for the development of natural resources, with an emphasis on the conservation of natural resources. The management of natural resources (including tourism resources) in China has entered a new age. This background inevitably encourages new concepts and methods for the development of various natural and ecological resources, including wine tourism resources, while they are also equipped with unique rarity, obvious heterogeneity and non-renewability. At the same time, tourism is a tourist-oriented activity and tourist preference plays an important role in tourism resource development. To alleviate the pressure on tourism development brought about by the new regulations on the spatial planning and protection of natural resources, putting forward specific strategies for achieving the balance between tourism resource development and sustainable tourism development has become a matter of some urgency.
Tourist satisfaction is the core stakeholder, and it is directly related to the benefits, values and sustainability of the tourism resource development. In the era of the experience economy, tourist satisfaction has become an important criterion for the development of tourism resources. It is also an effective route for achieving the conservative development of tourism resources. Therefore, tourist satisfaction can act as a bridge between tourism resource development and sustainable tourism development, which also ensures that the development of tourism resources (especially those dependent on natural landscapes) can better popularize the tourism market and better integrate tourism resources into the natural resource protection system. Correspondingly, wine tourism also needs to focus more on the satisfaction and experiences of tourists by adhering to the “tourist-centered” ideas in wine tourism resource development. Eventually, tourist satisfaction is the fundamental requirement for the development of wine tourism resources.
Thus, tourist perception is the premise and basis for tourist satisfaction, and it may ultimately decide tourists’ consumption preferences and destination loyalty. Based on the research of wine tourism resource development models, this study explores the influence of tourist preference on wine tourism resource development and identifies its mechanism from the perspective of tourist satisfaction and perception. This study may have positive practical and theoretical significance in promoting the sustainable development of wine tourism resources, thereby improving the economic, social, and ecological efficiency of the destination. In addition, it can enrich our knowledge of wine tourism and tourist satisfaction-oriented tourism resource development, to provide references for optimizing wine tourism spatial planning, facility layout, and industrial support.

2 Literature review

2.1 Research on tourist perception and its value dimensions

Tourism is an important part of leisure consumption in society, and research on tourist perception is an important theme in the field of consumer perception (Shin et al., 2019). Research on consumer perception has a long history in the West. In particular, the development of praxeology and market economics has made research on consumer perception more important. Research on consumer value perception also has a strong foundation and has become the most important part of marketing management (Stathopoulou and Balabanis, 2019). Value perception has an influence not only on consumer preference in the pre-purchase stage, but also on customer satisfaction, repurchase and willingness to recommend in the post-purchase stage (Lin and Fang, 2013).
As a type of experience consumption activity, tourism is an aesthetic and entertainment process for psychological pleasure, so its products should be necessary to meet the needs of tourists (Xie, 2005). Thus, tourism development based on tourist perception has become a popular tendency for destinations. As scholars have stressed value perception, they have referred to tourist evaluation based on the comparisons of their costs and benefits comprehensively (Byrd et al., 2016), including consumption experience, knowledge acquisition, and preference, which have been extensively evaluated during tourist visits based on personal experience (Huang and Huang, 2007). Extensive discussions have also been offered to explicate tourists’ perceived value. For example, Grönroos (1997) proposed the two-dimensional and three-dimensional value theories. Case studies have also indicated that the tourists’ perceived value is mainly comprised of quality and cost, involving three dimensions: information, system, service quality and technical effort, perceived cost, and perceived risk. Furthermore, Kwun and Oh (2004) analysed restaurant visitors and found that their value perception was mainly based on cost price, brand value, and service quality. Sweeney et al. (1999) built a tourist value perception system including emotion, society, quality, and price. This result is similar to the findings of Petrick (2002) that the tourists’ value perception can be impacted by their emotional responses, quality value, behavioural price, currency price, and reputation.
With the upgrading of tourism or leisure products, researchers have enriched the findings from various perspectives. Wang et al. (2011) studied exhibition tourism in China and noted that tourist perception was closely related to six dimensions: aesthetics, service, utility, perception, pleasure, and convenience. Meanwhile, Huang (2008) argued that tourism resources, tourism services, and tourism products affected tourist satisfaction and loyalty. Yu et al. (2010) discovered that post-travel behaviour was influenced by multiple variables, such as place dependence, value perception, and satisfaction experience through the mediation of value perception and tourist satisfaction. In low-carbon tourism, Hou and Hu (2013) found that the tourists’ perceived value was mainly affected by perceived value, facility value, and emotional value. Finally, Liu et al. (2017) investigated value perception in heritage tourism by content analysis via leveraging online reviews and argued that the significance and value of heritage tourism can be perceived and disseminated by tourists.

2.2 Research on wine tourism and tourist perception from the multi-perspective

Wine tourism has a long history in tourism study. Researchers have explored wine tourism from its experience conceptual framework to resource development (Zhan, 2009). Firstly, wine tourism has been discussed in the context of its differences from other tourism activities. In terms of visitor motivation, Hall et al. (2013) suggested that the main motivation for tourists was to taste wine or experience the wine region landscape by visiting vineyards, wineries, wine festivals and shows. However, Dowling (1999) extended the concept of wine tourism to cuisine, culture, art, education and tourism. From the perspective of the market, Getz and Brown (2006a) stressed that wine tourism should also include at least three aspects, namely, wine producers, travel agencies (on behalf of destinations) and consumers. Williams (2001) regarded wine tourism as “a kind of travel for people who like wine to pursue various experiences related to wine-producing areas”. In addition, Thanh and Kirova (2018) also explored wine tourists’ experiences from a holistic perspective. Therefore, wine tourism can be considered not only with respect to the consumption behavior of tourists, but also to the facilities and environment of the destination as well as related tourism attractions and images (Sparks, 2007).
(1) From the perspective of the tourism function. Wine tourists are the core of wine tourism research. Understanding the behaviors and preferences of wine tourists towards wine tourism can help wine tourism destinations develop successful marketing programs. Early studies on wine tourists mainly focused on wine drinking, but this definition was refuted later by scholars who believed that wine tourists wanted to increase their experience of wine and tourism (Cohen and Ben-Nun, 2009). Therefore, tourists’ perceptions of wine tourism have become a major concern for wine tourist researchers. Many studies have interpreted the perceptions of wine tourists from different perspectives and found that not all wine tourists are wine lovers, while most of them are more comfortable engaging in non-wine-related leisure activities (Alant and Bruwer, 2004). According to high-frequency keywords regarding tourist’s satisfaction with wine tourism, most wine tourists were attracted by the slow-paced lifestyle and other natural or cultural landscapes in the countryside (Carlsen and Dowling, 2001). The majority of tourists are not wine experts, and the tourism activities they participate in are not professional visits or business trips. Therefore, even though wine is the core attraction of wine tourism, it does not mean that the tourists’ perceived value is centered on wine. Some scholars have even studied the characteristics of wine tourists from the perspective of psychology by investigating the suppliers. Based on discussions with the representatives of suppliers, Hall and Mitchell (2015) summarized the characteristics of tourists into three categories, namely “wine lovers”, “wine interested persons” and “wine-curious tourists”.
(2) From the perspective of destination facilities and environment. Studies have shown that the wine tourist’s experience may be impacted by local surroundings, such as outdoor recreation areas, regional heritage and cultural attractions, and local dining and accommodation (Hall and Macionis, 1998; Johnson et al., 2000; Getz and Brown, 2006a; Johnson and Bruwer, 2007; Bruwer and Alant, 2009; Cohen and Ben-Nun, 2009; Bruwer and Lesschaeve, 2012). Getz (2000) and Macionis (1998) summarized the factors that influence the perceived value of wine tourists, such as wine festivals and wine shows, the style of wine regions, beautiful rural scenery, and the sense of open space. Charters and Ali-Knight (2002) found that wine-making equipment, knowledgeable employees, and tasting of the wine are important factors affecting wine tourists’ perception. The appeal of wine tourism lies in the friendliness of the winery, the stunning scenery and the understanding of the staff (Getz and Brown, 2006b). Besides, the knowledge of the winemaker, the service of the tasting room, the educational opportunities offered to wine tourists and the social opportunities offered by wine clubs are all important perceptual factors in the wine tourism experience for both local and overseas wine tourists (Xu et al., 2016; Festa et al., 2020).
At the same time, wine tourism marketing, and its relationship with wine tourism destinations, have also been studied. From the perspective of wine tourism service quality, the high-frequency keywords indicate that wine tourism brand and image are the most important aspects of wine tourism marketing (Alant and Bruwer, 2010). Taking Australia as an example, Christou et al. (2010) found that wine tourism marketing mainly included market image and branding, regional identity (regional characteristics), facilities and equipment, infrastructure, tourists’ expenditure, market research and government promotion. Williams (2001) argued that the image of destinations shifted from the early emphasis on the wine production processes and basic conditions to aesthetic perceptions, and interactive experiences of leisure and entertainment. To facilitate wine tourism destination development, the two aspects of the wine tourism route and sustainable development are being stressed in recent research (Festa et al., 2020). The regional effect of wine tourism and its promotion of local development are also being stressed (Frost et al., 2020).
The above studies have analyzed the perceived factors that affect tourist satisfaction with wine tourism experience from multiple dimensions, providing a reference for further investigation into the development of wine tourism resources based on tourist perception. To systematically reflect the content of wine tourists’ value perception, this study categorized the above factors into five fields: environment, service, facility, functional values, and resource quality, and used them as an important reference for designing the questionnaire items.

3 Research area and sampling

3.1 Research area

To explore tourists’ value perception concerning the development of wine tourism resources, this study chose the East Foothill of the Helan Mountain Wine Region located in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China as the study area, which is one of three major wine regions in China with the geographical indication. In this study, the development of wine tourism in the Helan Mountain Wine Region was investigated in-depth, and the wine tourists were interviewed and surveyed carefully.
According to a field analysis, since the establishment of the first winery (Yuquanying Winery) founded in 1835, this wine region at the eastern foot of Helan Mountain has formed an industrial cluster composed of more than 180 wineries. It is now the ninth-largest wine-producing region in China with its high-quality wine planting environment and natural endowments, exquisite brewing process, and scientific wine management. Based on the wine and its unique landscape, wine tourism has risen in recent years and this region has become a popular wine tourism destination in China.

3.2 Research sample and characteristics

To examine tourists’ perception of the wine tourism experience in the study area, the first step was to design a survey questionnaire based on the literature review to reflect the status of wine tourists’ perception. Second, the questionnaire was modified and improved based on expert verification and advice. In-depth interviews were conducted with tourism experts, staff of the Ningxia Wine Bureau and Ningxia Tourism Development Committee, and wine business owners based on the initial questionnaire, and some items in the questionnaire were original interview content. Third, the implemented work was conducted in 14 wineries (selected from among the 128 wineries according to information provided by Ningxia Wine Bureau and based on various factors, such as funds, winery reputation, and the number of tourists) in their slack (spring) and peak (summer) tourism seasons in 2017. At the same time, a pre-test questionnaire was conducted with tourists who visited the East Foothill of the Helan Mountain Wine Region to ensure that the language and expressions were accurate, clear, and appropriate. Then, based on feedback, nine items were deleted or combined, leaving 30 items in the formal questionnaire. Fourth, 600 questionnaires were distributed in two stages to develop and validate the model hypotheses, with 200 distributed during the model hypothesis stage and 400 during the model validation stage. Finally, a total of 587 questionnaires were collected for this study, with 196 and 391 questionnaires returned at each stage, respectively.

3.2.1 Demographic characteristics

Table 1 shows the results of a demographic analysis conducted on the 587 valid questionnaires. The number of female respondents (55.8%) was slightly higher than male respondents (44.2%). The majority of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 45 (89.5%), among which most were between the ages of 18 to 35 (58.3%). In terms of educational background, the respondents had high educational qualifications, with the majority (70.9%) of the respondents having a bachelor’s degree or above. Most of the respondents chose to travel through self-guided tours (31.2%) or self-driving tours (38.9%). With regards to income, 63.2% of respondents had a monthly disposable income of 4000 yuan or above, while 20.7% earned between 4000-6000 yuan and 20.5% earned above 10000 yuan. Thus, young people (between 18 and 35) with a monthly disposable income of 4000 to 6000 yuan and middle-aged people (between 36 and 45) with a monthly disposable income of 10000 yuan or above, were the two main groups of wine tourists. It can be inferred that these findings are consistent with the characteristics of young people who like novelty and excitement, and will dare to try new things. While the middle-aged people with a high income who like wine tourism prefer to finer tastes in life and high-quality social events.
Table1 Demographic characteristics of wine tourists
Variable Scale (%)
Gender Male 173 (44.2)
Female 218 (55.8)
Age 18-35 228 (58.3)
36-45 122 (31.2)
46-55 31 (7.9)
56-64 10 (2.6)
Educational background Junior school 5 (1.3)
High school 17 (4.3)
Junior college 92 (23.5)
Bachelor’s degree 154 (39.4)
Postgraduate degree 123 (31.5)
Monthly disposable
income (yuan)
Under 2000 74 (18.9)
2000-4000 70 (17.9)
4001-6000 81 (20.7)
6001-8000 47 (12.0)
8001-10000 39 (10.0)
Above 10000 80 (20.5)
Travel mode Self-guided 122 (31.2)
Self-driving 152 (38.9)
Group tour 60 (15.3)
Backpacker 18 (4.6)
Others 39 (10.0)
Finally, regarding the educational background, income level and social status, the demographic characteristics of Chinese wine tourists are consistent with the findings of Dodd (1995) and Hall and Mitchell (2015), in that Western wine tourists also have higher educational, economic and social status. However, there were differences in terms of gender and age. Overall, middle-aged men predominated among the overseas wine tourists, while a higher proportion of Chinese wine tourists were young women.

3.2.2 Behavioural characteristics

Table 2 shows that the main motivation for the wine tourists in this study was visiting the local winery (46.3%) to learn more about wine, which is a fashion in China. It also illustrates that for most visitors (63.2%) that trip was their first time to engage in wine tourism for their curiosity. At the same time, the local beautiful natural and unique cultural landscapes were also an important motivation to enjoy wine tourism, and 20.5% of the tourists were taking their tour as a wine tourism vacation. However, traditional purposes of tourism, such as business (7.7%), visiting family and friends (4.3%), activities (2.8%) or shopping (0.8%), showed little influence in attracting tourists to wine tourism. Thus, these findings indicate that wine tourism in China is still at an initial stage.
Table 2 Behavioural characteristics of wine tourists
Variable Frequency (%) Variable Frequency (%) Variable Frequency (%)
Motivation Information access Consumption (yuan)
Vacation 80 (20.5) Television 108 (12.4) Under 300 108 (27.6)
Family or friends visiting 17 (4.3) Radio 34 (3.9) 300-600 109 (27.9)
Business 30 (7.7) Internet 166 (19.1) 600-800 64 (16.4)
Visiting winery 181 (46.3) Weibo 84 (9.7) 800-1000 59 (15.1)
Party 14 (3.6) WeChat 199 (22.9) 1000-1500 20 (5.1)
Shopping 3 (0.8) Newspapers or Magazines 51 (5.9) Above 1500 31 (7.9)
Drop-by visit 41 (10.5) Travel agency 36 (4.1) Duration
Winery activities 11 (2.8) Recommendation 161 (18.5) One day 277 (70.8)
Others 14 (3.6) Others 31 (3.6) Two days 58 (14.8)
Three days or over 56 (14.3)
As a novel attraction, wine tourism marketing also has changed considerably. Modern social media platforms, such as WeChat (22.9%) and Weibo (9.7%), were the most effective methods for wine tourism marketing. As the most widespread medium for information dissemination, they have played an extremely important role in promoting tourism products and experiences. Further, the related effects such as friends’ recommendations accounted for 18.5%, after the Internet, which provided wine tourism information for 19.1% of the respondents. In addition, television and newspapers or magazines also played a major role in attracting tourists to participate in wine tourism, as their contributions for local visitors accounted for 12.4% and 5.9%, respectively. However, travel agencies (4.1%) and radio (3.9%) have significantly lower shares in promoting wine tourism. This tendency may reflect the fact that wine tourism is still an emerging tourism experience and the mature wine tourism routes or products have not been formed yet. The large scale of “drop-by visit” (10.5%) can also illustrate this phenomenon to a certain degree. Therefore, wine tourism products or route designs should be stressed in the study area to promote local wine tourism development.
Regarding travel modes, self-guided and self-driving combined accounted for more than 70%. This indicated a strong willingness for autonomous consumption. However, as a scarce experiential product in China, wine tourism was still a transit tour for leisure vacations, with 70.8% of tourists primarily participating in one-day travel. At the same time, wine tourism exhibited a low added value to the wine industry, as tourist consumption was mostly (71.9%) under 800 yuan. This amount is lower than the 952 yuan per capita consumption of Chinese domestic tourism in 2019. Since wine tourism is undeveloped in the Helan Mountain Wine Region, the rate of conversion of wine-related tourism products was low, and leisure and entertainment facilities were also scarce in the study area. Thus, local wine tourism had not been able to establish comprehensive tourism destinations and tourists were constrained by their old understanding of the local tourism image. It even reflected the overall condition of Chinese wine-related tourism development, which was limited by local public services and reception facilities and a vacation atmosphere.

4 Research process and results

4.1 Model construction

4.1.1 Explanatory factors related to perception

This study analysed the results of a questionnaire regarding tourists’ perception using a scale to measure wine tourists’ experience and satisfaction, and assessed the stability, reliability, and consistency of the tourists’ perception of wine tourism through reliability and validity analyses. According to the analyses using SPSS 22.0, the value of Cronbach’s α for the overall scale was 0.966, and each dimension of tourists’ perception was higher than 0.7, which reflected the efficient explanation of the sample data.
At the same time, this study employed two validity testing methods, the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) and Bartlett’s test of sphericity, to ensure that the factor analysis is suited for the data. Based on the results shown in Table 3, the KMO value was 0.924, while the approximate Chi-square in Bartlett’s test of sphericity was 4628.847. This indicated that there were significant differences in the coefficient matrix of the scale factors in Bartlett’s test of sphericity, so it was suitable for further factor analysis. Then, SPSS 22.0 was used for the analysis of 26 factors. Five common factors were obtained after the orthogonal rotation of maximum variance, and the cumulative variance contribution rate was 79.53% (Table 4). These common factors were named according to their meanings, i.e., ‘facility and environment’, ‘service awareness’, ‘tourism satisfaction’, ‘resource value’, and ‘resource conservation’, comprising factors X1 to X5, X6 to X11, X12 to X16, X17 to X21, and X22 to X26, respectively.
Table 3 Results of the KMO and Bartlett’s tests
Index Result
KMO measure of sampling adequacy 0.924
Bartlett’s test of sphericity Previous square value 4628.847
Freedom degree 0.325
Significance <0.001
Table 4 Results of the exploratory factor analysis
Factors Facilities and environment
Service awareness
Tourism satisfaction
Resource value
Resource conservation
Mean SD
X1 0.831 5.00 1.42
X2 0.807 4.94 1.39
X3 0.797 4.99 1.44
X4 0.754 5.50 1.35
X5 0.669 5.52 1.36
X6 0.811 5.45 1.40
X7 0.792 4.98 1.37
X8 0.649 4.83 1.39
X9 0.600 5.01 1.45
X10 0.596 5.03 1.45
X11 0.571 5.41 1.35
X12 0.754 5.65 1.36
X13 0.726 5.70 1.37
X14 0.726 5.60 1.40
X15 0.667 5.53 1.36
X16 0.580 5.72 1.34
X17 0.796 5.36 1.51
X18 0.769 5.31 1.50
X19 0.687 5.00 1.59
X20 0.687 5.54 1.45
X21 0.587 5.55 1.44
X22 0.672 5.59 1.46
X23 0.547 4.80 1.66
X24 0.538 4.84 1.62
X25 0.457 4.82 1.66
X26 0.396 5.14 1.62

Note: The 26 individual factors are: Wine tourism is fully equipped with reception facilities (X1), Complete transportation is available inside and outside the wine region (X2), Wine tourism provides comprehensive information services (X3), Wine tourism has high quality service (X4), Winemakers have extensive expertise (X5), Wine tourism can provide personalised services (X6), Wine tourism items are moderately priced (X7), Wine tourism items are rich and diverse (X8), Good ecological environment is available in the wine region (X9), Distinct themes are available for wine tourism items (X10), There are beautiful natural landscapes in the wine tourism area (X11), Wine tourism makes people happy (X12), Wine tourism can promote good health (X13), Wine tourism can relieve stress (X14), Wine tourism can enhance interpersonal communication (X15), Wine tourism can increase knowledge (X16), Wine tourism resources have ornamental value (X17), Wine tourism resources have ecological value (X18), Wine tourism resources have recreational value (X19), Wine tourism resources have educational value (X20), Wine tourism resources have health value (X21), Participate in wine tourism resource conservation works (X22), Understand resource conservation measures in wine tourism (X23), Understand laws and regulations related to resource conservation (X24), Prevent the destruction of wine tourism resources (X25), and Conservation of wine tourism resources is very important (X26).

4.1.2 Hypotheses and model construction

Based on the effects of the common factors on the understanding of and satisfaction with wine tourism resource development, this study constructed an evaluation model consisting of five latent variables (common factors), 26 observed variables, and four endogenous variables. Support for wine tourism is an endogenous latent variable, which includes four items, X27: Support the in-depth development of wine tourism; X28: I will be glad to see more wine tourism items; X29: Willing to experience wine tourism items; and X30: Willing to pay for wine tourism items. Latent variables affect endogenous variables.
Based on the relevant research foundations and hypothetical inferences, this study proposed the following five hypotheses (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1 Framework of the research hypotheses
H1: There is a significant positive relationship between resource value perception and support;
H2: There is a significant positive relationship between service quality perception and support;
H3: There is a significant positive relationship between facilities and environment perception and support;
H4: There is a significant positive relationship between tourism function perception and support;
H5: There is a significant positive relationship between resource conservation perception and support.

4.2 Model validation

At first, this study tested the reliability and validity of the latent and endogenous variables according to the survey questionnaire data in different validation stages, to ensure the explanatory effect of the latent variables on the endogenous variables. The results (Table 5) showed that for 391 questionnaires, the value of Cronbach’s α was 0.897, indicating better consistency, while the composite reliability (CR) was higher than 0.7, indicating that the observed variables were heterogeneous. Meanwhile, the average variance extracted (AVE) was near the standard value of 0.5, indicating that the observed variables could explain the corresponding latent variables.
Table 5 Results of the reliability and validity tests
Items Cronbach’s
Average Variance Extracted (AVE) Composite
Reliability (CR)
Facilities and environment 0.83 0.71 0.89
Service awareness 0.79 0.64 0.83
Tourism satisfaction 0.82 0.55 0.87
Resource value 0.88 0.62 0.82
Resource conservation 0.82 0.58 0.83
Tourist support 0.87 0.61 0.82

Note: AVE=$\frac{\Sigma {{(Li)}^{2}}}{\Sigma L{{i}^{2}}+\Sigma \text{Var}(Ei)}$, CR =$\frac{{{(\Sigma Li)}^{2}}}{{{(\Sigma Li)}^{2}}+\Sigma \text{Var}(Ei)}$; Li means the standardized factor load of the observed variable item i to the latent variable, Var(Ei) means the error variance of item i associated with a single observation index.

Then, AMOS was used to test the above hypothesis model. The test results showed that the factor loading of each observed variable was greater than 0.5 and the t-test was significant. However, among the fit indices of the initial structural model, χ2=1931.555, df=390, χ2/df=4.953, goodness of fit index(GFI)=0.74, incremental fit index(IFI)= 0.88, comparative fit index(CFI)=0.88, normed fit index (NFI)=0.85, and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA)=0.101, so none of these indices were optimal. These results indicated that the initial model required modification, so the model was adjusted using the modification index (MI) provided by AMOS. The revised model indices, χ2=1401.821, df=387, χ2/df=3.622, GFI=0.88, IFI=0.92, CFI=0.94, NFI= 0.91, and RMSEA=0.076, all met the model fit standards, indicating that the model estimations could be conducted (Table 6).
Table 6 Modified results of fit indices
Ideal value <3 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 >0.9 <0.08
Initial model 4.953 0.74 0.88 0.88 0.85 0.101
Modified model 3.622 0.88 0.92 0.94 0.91 0.076
According to the adjusted model estimations (Table 7), the path coefficients and endogenous variables between facilities and environment and resource conservation did not meet the requirements to support the relevant hypotheses. Therefore, H1 and H5 were not supported. Specifically, the standardised coefficient for the impact of tourist facilities and environment on the support for wine tourism was -0.947, and the P-value was greater than 0.1, indicating that its impact was not significant. The path coefficient for the impact of resource conservation perception on support was 0.013, and the P-value was greater than 0.1, indicating that its impact was also not significant. Therefore, H1 and H5 were not supported. Meanwhile, the standardised coefficient for the impact of tourists’ service quality on support was 0.945, and the P-value was less than 0.05, indicating that there was a significant positive association between the latent variable and the endogenous variable. Therefore, H2 was supported. Similarly, the standardised coefficient for the impact of tourism satisfaction on support was 0.832, and the P-value was less than 0.001, indicating that they had a significant positive association. Therefore, H3 was supported. Finally, the standardised coefficient for the impact of resource value on support was 0.057, and the P-value was less than 0.001, indicating that there was a significant positive correlation between the latent variable and the endogenous variable. Therefore, H4 was supported.
Table 7 Test results of the hypotheses
Hypothesis Relationship between variables Path coefficient T-value P-value Result
H1 Facilities and environment → tourist support -0.947 0.070 0.945 non-support
H2 Service awareness → tourist support 0.945 1.978** 0.023 support
H3 Tourism satisfaction → tourist support 0.832 5.832*** 0.000 support
H4 Resource value → tourist support 0.057*** 6.280 0.000 support
H5 Resource conservation → tourist support 0.013 0.913 0.361 non-support

Note: * : P < 0.05; **: P <0.01; *** : P < 0.001

4.3 Explanation of model characteristics

According to the results of the model parameters in Fig. 2, the wine tourists’ evaluation and perception of wine tourism development have been revealed, and the relationships between the endogenous variables and potential variables have also been investigated. Furthermore, the factors influencing wine tourism development and the mechanism of wine tourism development have been identified.
Fig. 2 Model parameter estimation

4.3.1 Influence of tourists’ perception of service quality on support for wine tourism

Service quality is the most important factor affecting the tourism experience in general, which also holds true for wine tourism. According to the results of the model, tourist perception of service quality had the greatest impact on tourists’ support for wine tourism, in which “the price of wine tourism is affordable” (X7) had the greatest influence on tourists’ perception of service quality, and the path coefficient is 0.83. In addition, the path coefficient of the influence of “wine tourism area has beautiful natural landscape” (X11) on perceived service quality was 0.81. The two factors of “Reasonable grade of wine tourism project” (X8) and “good ecological environment of wine-producing areas” (X9) also had great influences on tourists’ perception of service quality, both with path coefficients of 0.78. As wine tourism is a high-end tourism and leisure option, its prices and consumption are of concern for tourists. Moreover, high price is also an important factor that influences tourist choice. As such, pricing and grading are the key points that require attention. As a unique ecological tourism option, natural landscapes in wine regions also play a key role in the development of wine tourism. Furthermore, wine tourism has to lead the way for environmental protection.

4.3.2 Tourism function perception and value characteristics of wine tourism development

Leisure experience is an important value in the development of wine tourism, which not only highlights the significance of wine culture but also shows the recreational characteristics of wine tourism. Based on the results of this study, the items related to wine tourism functions exhibited higher path coefficients. According to Fig. 2, the path coefficient of the item ‘wine tourism makes people happy’ (X12) is the highest at 0.94. This confirms that in the wine tourism experience, the physical and mental pleasures are the basic requirements for wine tourists. Through recreational facilities and the surrounding environment, tourism creates a relaxed and pleasant experience and atmosphere, helping tourists to free themselves from routine work, life and emotional pressures, and making their body and mind happy. The path coefficients for stress relief (associated with pleasure), healthy body, interpersonal communication and knowledge acquisition were 0.92, 0.91, 0.84, and 0.82, respectively, indicating a decreasing trend. This reflects the clear target characteristics and the hierarchical connotation system in wine tourism, concerning physical and mental pleasures as the ultimate goal. Through stress relief in the recreation process, tourists can have a healthy body and improve interpersonal communication, thus highlighting the value characteristics and trends of wine tourism development.
The functions of wine tourism, including the physical and mental pleasures, stress relief, healthy body, and interpersonal communication, require not only the creation of a leisure environment and atmosphere, but also the cultivation of cultural elements in wine tourism and the improvement of the appeal of wine tourism for tourists. All these serve as an important basis for helping tourists to acquire further experience and enjoyment, as well as for leisure purposes. The value of wine tourism development lies in satisfying tourists’ needs for a variety of leisure and recreation options, as well as their pursuit of novel experiences. The significance of wine tourism’s functional value is demonstrated by the leisure experience in wine tourism, with wine tourists’ function perception strongly highlighting the value characteristics of wine tourism development.

4.3.3 Tourists’ resource value perception as the foundation for the development of wine tourism

Wine tourism is centered on experiences involving grapevine growing and harvesting, winemaking, wine tasting, and storage. High-quality wine tourism resources are an important condition for ensuring the development of wine tourism. In the pursuit of high-quality wine tourism experiences, tourists attach great importance to the resource value of wine tourism, especially the ornamental value and health value, which had a greater impact. Their path coefficients were 0.83, 0.83, and 0.86, respectively. Tourists’ attention to the value of wine tourism focuses on the value of the leisure experience related to wine tourism resources. For tourists, a high-quality wine tourism experience must be equipped with better tourism resources. Only then can the authenticity and value of wine tourism be further highlighted as a high-quality experience for them. The ornamental and health values of wine tourism are the key points of concern for tourists in increasing the cultural value of wine tourism after developing its ecological and health values.
The value of wine tourism resources is the foundation of the development of wine tourism. The directions for the development of wine tourism resources can be determined based on tourists’ judgment and perception of the ecological, health, ornamental, and recreational values of the resources. Thus, breakthroughs in the development of wine tourism can be identified based on these directions. The purpose of wine tourism development is to satisfy the tourists’ need for experiences, which is the basis for creating selling points for wine tourism through breakthroughs in tourism resources. The focus points on the value of wine tourism development can only be formed by combining the motivations behind tourists’ needs and the foundation of the resources from the perspective of their needs.

4.3.4 Minimal impact of facilities and environment perception and resource conservation perception on support for wine tourism

In general, the facilities and environment of tourist destinations are the material basis for influencing tourist experience and comfort, and for creating tourist satisfaction. As a relatively ‘high-end’ experiential leisure activity, wine tourism focuses more on comfort in the experience process and the convenience of facility use. However, this study showed that tourists’ facilities and environment perception did not have a significant impact on their support for wine tourism, which may be because the tourists focus more on the overall wine tourism experience itself, and do not attach much importance to the conditions of the surrounding regions. In addition, resource conservation perception did not have any impact on the tourists’ support for wine tourism. However, in the development of wine tourism from the perspective of tourist interest and resource sustainability, more attention should be paid to the environment and facility improvement, as well as resource conservation.

5 Discussion

The above findings represent a great advancement in wine resources and tourism development. Generally, the tourists’ attitude towards wine tourism development determines their behaviour in wine tourism consumption, and tourists’ satisfaction has a significant positive correlation with their willingness to pay during travelling. However, this study indicates that wine tourists still lack the motivation to spend, as they spend less money and experience fewer services and products. This not only affects tourists’ satisfaction, but also brings about changes in the environment for the development of wine tourism destinations. Therefore, tourist attraction and the influence of wine tourism destinations can be improved by strengthening the development of wine tourism products, constructing an ecological chain for wine-oriented experience products, clarifying the selling points of wine tourism and other measures.
In addition, there are also differences in the willingness of tourists to pay for different types of tourism products, such as experiencing wine tourism activities, purchasing wine tourism products or souvenirs, wine culture consumption and purchasing wine products. Wine tourism products that meet tourists needs and preferences, and are developed by combining the direction of wine tourism development and the demographic characteristics of tourists can better satisfy the needs of different tourists, thereby improving their satisfaction with the destination experience, and eventually promoting the development of wine tourism resources in tourist destinations and reaping the benefits of such development. This also reflects the characteristics of wine tourism resources, including landscape quality, experience value, leisure service level, user-friendly features, the suitability of recreational spaces, and the richness of experiential items, which play a vital role in influencing wine tourists’ experience and satisfaction. For wine tourists, an understanding of the recreational, ornamental, educational, ecological, and health values of wine tourism resources, as well as the evaluation of attitude and satisfaction in the development of wine tourism resources, are based on direct experiences in recreational facilities and the environmental conditions of tourist destinations as well as through various other experiences, such as physical and mental pleasures, stress relief, interpersonal communication, and knowledge acquisition. Wine tourists’ comfort and satisfaction with the tourist destination experience can be improved by enhancing the level of wine tourism resource development and the aesthetic level of landscapes, and by focusing on tourist destination services, facility layouts, and user-friendly designs.
It should be noted that although neither facilities and environment perception nor resource conservation perception is positively correlated with tourists’ support for wine tourism in the tourist perception evaluation model for the development of wine tourism resources, both factors play an important role in the overall recreational environment of tourist destinations. As the facilities and environment and resource conservation are vital for wine tourism, tourists’ attention to recreational landscapes, products, and services in the experience process may lead to the neglect of environmental protection and resource conservation in the development of wine tourism, thereby resulting in a negative correlation between both types of perception and tourists’ support for wine tourism. Therefore, tourism facilities and environment, as well as resource conservation, are also critical factors affecting the development of wine tourism, because improving tourist satisfaction strongly depends on improving the environment and resource conservation of wine tourism.

6 Conclusions

Tourist satisfaction is the solid foundation of wine tourism resource development. In this study, tourists’ perceptions of wine tourism development were collected by a questionnaire survey, and then AMOS software was used to analyze the characteristics of market demand and the key factors influencing wine tourism from the perspective of tourist perception. This analysis provides a useful reference for a deep understanding of the market direction of wine tourism development and identifying the unique selling points (USP) of wine tourism. This study draws three main conclusions.
(1) As a special emerging tourism product, wine tourists share the following market characteristics: they are mainly young or middle-aged; the number of women is slightly higher than men; they have a middle-income status with a good educational background and tend to prefer self-guided travel.
(2) Wine tourism resource value, service quality, and tourism function perceptions have significant direct relationships with tourist support for the development of wine tourism resources.
(3) The wine tourists’ attitude towards resource development has an impact not only on the development of wine tourism in the destinations but also on the tourists’ own consumption behavior.
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