Chinese National Parks are not only concerned with conservation and recreation, but also the economic development of rural areas through a contribution to tourism as stated in Chapters 1 and 2 of this book. They are often characterized by higher levels of infrastructure development (including accommodation, retail and transport development) than their western counterparts; partly on the premise that such development creates high levels of employment, as evidenced by Zhong, Deng and Xiang in the previous chapter. In addition Chinese concepts of harmony also permit greater human intrusion in National Parks than would be found in, for example, a North American National Park, where an ethic of wilderness untouched by human presence is perceived as an ideal. Given these differences, within the Chinese context the efciency of resource usage becomes a key component of park management. Consequently the purpose of this chapter is to rst discuss the nature of National Parks paradigms in China, second to assess resource usage effectiveness in parks through the use of data envelopment analysis (DEA) and third to note the role of park proximity as a source of externally generated economies of scale. Finally the results are discussed with reference to their implications and the limitations of the study. This chapter therefore extends previous studies in three ways. First, DEA is applied to Chinese National Parks, and no prior study using this approach in this context has been found. Second, the initial ndings gave rise to considering geographical clustering of parks as a determinant of scale economies, and this too is a new consideration, although it may be specic to the Chinese context. Third, the chapter also extends the work of Zhong, Deng and Xiang reported in
Chapter 3 by indicating that within the tourism area life-cycle the progress made by any one destination is linked to the patterns of demand associated with other sites and attractions, and that proximity or clusters of attractions, sites or destinations also need to be considered.