Journal of Service Science and Management
Vol.08 No.03(2015), Article ID:57068,9 pages

Analysis of Tourist Leisure Activities in Integrated Resorts Based on the Constraint Negotiation Strategies

Zhuling Zhong1, Jing Luo2, Mu Zhang2*

1School of Management, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China

2Shenzhen Tourism College, Jinan University, Shenzhen, China

Email:,, *

Copyright © 2015 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).

Received 24 April 2015; accepted 8 June 2015; published 11 June 2015


Based on the Constraint Negotiation Strategies, this study aims to explore whether three types of constraint factors and their hierarchy relations can be applied to Chinese tourists. The subject of this study is the leisure activities of Chinese tourists taking a leisure vacation. The study tends to figure out the main constraint factors and their corresponding negotiation strategies. The authors conduct confirmatory factor analysis to the data collected and also perform the Structural Equation Model to test the Constraint Negotiation Model and its hypotheses. The results show that structural constraints have a significant influence on participation to leisure activities. Driven by motivation to have a leisure vacation, tourists choose ReBAM as their negotiation strategy to fulfill their need of participating in leisure activities. While still maintaining some very special features of its own, leisure tourism in China is gradually merging with the international trend for tourism development.


Constraints Negotiation Process, Tourist Holiday Resort, Structural Equation Modeling

1. Introduction

China’s booming economy, escalating living standards and increasing paid vacations have turned leisure tourism market into the most vital domestic tourism market. In 2003, the State Council published the National Leisure Plan (2013-2020) which, to a large extend, would secure paid vacations by 2020. According to the plan, governments should not only spend more on infrastructure and public services, but also enhance inspection on quality control and lower the prices of city leisure parks. Moreover, companies are encouraged to develop city leisure products. China’s era for leisure tourism is about to come.

In fact, tourism in China is gradually transforming from traditional group tours to casual leisure tours. New demands for tourism are emerging constantly. Yet, the real hotspots for tourism consumption such as the leisure tourism industry and products are still not mature enough. Therefore, more social public resources should be poured into providing various tourism services. The pace of developing leisure tourism products should be quickened. Tourism resorts should be used to attract different types of leisure tourism products and spur the development of these products. More and more scholars in China are studying the development pattern of tourism resorts from perspectives such as planning, building and marketing. Coastal cities like Sanya are especially preferred by researchers. Studies have been conducted in areas such as resort planning, product developing as well as balancing environment and culture [1] -[4] . As regard to leisure tourism market surveys and consumers statistics analysis, they have been brought into more depth. But, these studies have been focused on statistical analysis of different types of tourists. Not enough light has been cast in the inner motivation and pattern research of tourists. The question as to why tourism resorts cannot fully fulfill the needs of leisure tourists remains unsolved.

The aim of this research is to study the constraint factors of leisure tourism under the framework of constraint negotiation strategies with the perspective of tourists and then further discuss the leisure tourism pattern of China’s major tourism resorts. The theory of constraint negotiation strategies has been discussed widely during the past 30 years and applied to the field of leisure activity. Social scientists have been exploring the factors and mechanism that suppress and terminate people’s enjoyment and participation in leisure activities [5] .

2. Literature Review

2.1. Constraint Negotiation Strategies

In 1987, Crawford et al. (1987) first proposed that the direct link between “preference” and “participation” was actually pretty weak. Barrier was explicitly categorized into “intrapersonal barrier”, “interpersonal barrier” and “structural barrier”, which constituted three patterns with “preference” and “participation” respectively [6] . In 1990s, Hierarchical Model of Leisure Constraints was proposed to substitute “barrier” with “constraints” on the basis of Crawford’s “three-dimensional constraint model” [7] . This theory believes that leisure activities should not be merely measured by participation effected by constraints; the influencing leisure choices should also be deeply explored. “Participation” and “preference” should be an integral part of the entire process with different types of constraint factors layered out according to their importance. The most important and influential constraint factor to involvement in leisure activities are the intrapersonal constraints such as lack of interest, pressure and depression, followed by interpersonal constraints such as lack of companion and marriage. Structural constraints rank the least, including finance, climate and equipment. Overcoming each constraint by the sequence would be the ultimate means to guarantee the participation in leisure activities.

From the late 1990s, more and more studies discovered that constraint factors were not the decisive factors in one’s decision as to whether or not take part in leisure activities and therefore the Constraint Negotiation Strategies theory was born. Participation in leisure activities is the product created by constraint factors and balanced motivations. From the very beginning to the very end, negotiation is influenced by the intensity of different constraint factors and motivations. Constraint factors are not impenetrable barriers. Leisure activities are not the result of lacking constraint factors, but of constant adjustments to behaviors caused by successful negotiations [8] . Compared with cognitive strategies such as expectation adjustment and interest alternation, people prefer behavioral strategies such as adjusting time, increasing income and acquiring skills when it comes to participating in leisure activities [9] . The Constraint Negotiation Strategies theory further explains the process in which people overcome leisure constraint factors when it is compared with the Hierarchical Model of Leisure Constraints theory and therefore more widely applied to empirical studies.

2.2. The Theory Application on Travel Constraints

More and more empirical studies have been focusing on the following two aspects for the late thirty years. It involves the study of the influence with constraint negotiation strategies theory which is working on the leisure behaviors of different groups of people. The most widely spread researches on constraint factors targeted female, adolescent, elderly, disabled as well as people from different ethnic groups [10] - [12] . According to the articles published by Lin & Shi (2012) during the past 20 years, female tourists face more constraint factors when it comes to leisure activity choices, among which lacking time and money are two most obvious structural constraint factors [13] . Jackson & Rucks (1995) studied the leisure behaviors of junior and senior school students and found out that compared with adults, structural constraint factors such as responsibilities (going to school, doing homework) and time of these students became very strong [9] . According to researches done by Metcalf, et al. (2013) on forest leisure tours, constraint factors such as language and information search has stronger influence to non- traditional leisure tourists than to traditional leisure tourists [12] . But both types of tourists face constraints factors such as time and money. Possible discriminations resulted from culture difference do not seem to have any significant influence on leisure activities. Influence of the constraint negotiation strategies affects different leisure activities such as sports activities, event tourism and activities as specific as museum leisure activities, calligraphy and landscape leisure experience and skiing [14] [15] . There is difference in the type of constraint factors and the ways of negotiating among various fields. However, according to studies conducted by Lai et al. (2013) on tourism constraints from 1998 to 2008, people consider income, time and weather as the most influential structural constraint factors. Data was acquired through scales and questionnaires which were adopted as the research method [16] .

Also, with the opening of the Chinese tourism market, China’s leisure tour market and increasing leisure tourists are drawing more attention from the academic circle. There has been a dramatic increase in the number of studies focusing on leisure activities, including the characteristics of leisure activities for particular groups such as female, college students and residents of a certain area as well as for special events and cultural celebrations [17] [18] . But leisure tour only consists of a very small portion of leisure activities with its occurrence different from normal leisure activities. There is hardly any study on constraint factors for tourists when choosing leisure tours. Therefore, there exists room for studies on behavioral analysis of Chinese leisure tourists. What is more, various leisure tour products have been emerging in a lot of China’s major tourism areas. Yet, studies on this subject haven’t touched its core. Most studies are about to promote the leisure tour industry from a very macroscopic perspective or to develop and plan tourism products, which categorize leisure tourists simply from marketing needs of tourism companies. Therefore, these studies do not give an insight into the position that China’s leisure tourism market holds in the global leisure tourism market. Meanwhile, more and more academics have found out that China’s tourism resorts were gradually transforming into integrated resorts, which were very similar to the leisure tourism facility in western countries [19] . The theory of ReBAM was innovatively created to demonstrate distinct features of China’s leisure tourism development while it maintained accordance with international practice [20] .

Therefore, this study targets the opening leisure tourism market in China, especially the pattern of leisure tourists, and it tends to discover constraint factors to the current leisure tourism market through the Constraint Negotiation Strategies of tourists. This study can also be an exploration to the application of international leisure tourism theories into the Chinese leisure tourism pattern. This study intends to answer the following questions: (1) What are the constraint factors to Chinese tourists when they travel to integrated resorts in China? (2) To what extent do the Constraint Negotiation Strategies and its models apply to Chinese tourists? (3) How does the Constraint Negotiation Strategies boost tourists’ participation into leisure activities during the entire process of leisure?

3. Model Design and Research Hypothesis

According to the Constraint Negotiation Strategies, researchers have developed numerous measurement models targeting specific research scenarios. Hubbard and Mannell (2001) tested negotiation strategies of employees through SEM based on Jackson’s hierarchy model [21] . Through testing four models with hypothesis based on different influence of constraint, negotiation, motivation and participation, the constraint-effects-mitigation Model was eventually proved (Figure 1). This finding suggests that negotiation strategies and motivation play a key role in the entire process.

Also, more and more academics were introducing the Constraint Negotiation Strategies into outdoor leisure activities and recreation activities. New hypothesis were proposed based on Hubbard and Mannell’s model. The model was therefore supplemented and tested and then evolved into models with higher credibility [14] [22] [23] . Research on leisure time physical activity of city park tourists applied SEM to test Hubbard’s constraint negotiation model and found out that negotiation strategies played a vital role in motivation and participation as a mediate.

Figure 1. Constraint-effects-mitigation model (Hubbard and Mannell, 2001).

Motivation conquers constraint factors through promoting negotiation strategies and therefore has a positive effect on participation indirectly. The role motivation plays is indispensible in the entire negotiation process. Some academics who disagree with this mainstream theory believe that motivation can have a direct effect on participation. According to the study conducted by Wilhelm Stanis et al. (2009) [22] , on the leisure activities of park tourists, when new variables such as “recognition” and “collaboration” were introduced to the model, the effect that constraint had on participation tested weaker than those of negotiation strategies and participation had on participation. Therefore, the effect of constraint tested insignificant. White (2008) conducted a research on leisure activities outdoors and in parks. White modified the model from the perspective of social recognition theory by adding a variable called “negotiation efficiency” and believed that higher efficiency could boost more leisure motivation to promote participation [24] .

This study stands on the shoulder of the Hubbard and Mannell’s model, by combining previous researches as well as the current situation of China’s leisure tourism market, aiming to test whether the following five hypotheses can be applied to leisure tourists in China’s tourism resorts through re-examine the four potential variables with a modified scale.

Ÿ H1: Constraint has a negative effect on leisure participation.

Ÿ H2: Negotiation has a positive effect on leisure participation.

Ÿ H3: Motivation has a positive effect on leisure participation.

Ÿ H4: Constraint has a positive effect on negotiation.

Ÿ H5: Motivation has a positive effect on negotiation.

4. Methodology

4.1. Measurement Scales

Leisure constraint has different influence in different scenarios on different subjects. The first question that this study aims to explore is that when it comes to integrated resorts, what constitutes tourists’ constraint factors and whether the result is in accordance with the leisure constraint hierarchy theory. Constraint hierarchy theory consists of intrapersonal constraints, interpersonal constraints as well as structural constraints. When it comes to China’s leisure tourism market and tourist groups as well as the culture gap between China and western countries, the fixed contents of a scale is with no doubt failing to explain specific constraint factors. Thus, this study is based upon a study conducted by Garry and Dong (2009) on constraint factors of six cities in China, of which the methodology is adopted to get 8 variables for experimental observation [25] . The scale is therefore enlarged. Also, in the study carried out by Hubbard and Mannell, the scale was revised and modified by numerous academics. This study adopts the scale used by Hubbard and Mannell. Negotiation strategies include pleasantness, socializing and health. 19 questions are adopted, all of which concur with Likert-type scales with 7 point. Interviewees assign a rank to each statement according to the extent to which they agree with the statement. Besides, this study gathers basic information of interviewees such as age and occupation and sets opening questions about tourism experience cases in order to explain research data more thoroughly and bring enlightenments to company managers.

4.2. Study Area and Data Collection

As to the selection of the research subject, tourism resorts of ReBAM would be a suitable choice for this study. ReBAM is an area surrounding the city created by the movement of tourists moving from within the city to suburban areas. ReBAM is easy to access with transportation and fulfill the needs of urban residents taking a short- term leisure vacation [20] . This type of leisure tourists is very typical in China.

This study adopts the questionnaire as the means to acquire research data and examine variables. Most of the data came from Shenzhen East OCT in China, which is a well-known and influential integrated resort in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, Macau with features of leisure, sightseeing, outdoor sporting, science popularization as well as exploration. Also, questionnaires were distributed on the Internet to gather general views about leisure tours in resorts. A total of 263 tourists were interviewed on tours in resorts. 152 questionnaire feedbacks were collected from the Internet, which were valid. A total of 415 questionnaires were used for data analysis. The valid recovery rate reached 91.0%.

4.3. Data Analysis Techniques

First of all, a frequency statistical analysis was conducted on all samples basic information in order to gather various features of samples. A coefficient was applied to test the credibility of the scale. Secondly, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to test whether the model built was suitable for examining leisure activity constraints in tourism resorts in China. In other words, CFA was applied to examine whether the data could be matched to the model. Finally, structural equation model (SEM) was used to test hypotheses built upon constraints, negotiation strategies, motivations and participation to find out whether the hypotheses held true for leisure tourists in tourism resorts in China.

5. Result

5.1. Socioeconomic Characteristics of Respondent

In the field investigation, female tourists take up 54.2% of the total sample as the majority. Income of 58.7% tourists ranges from 2001 - 10,000 Yuan/month. 70% of the sample tourists hold a diploma or a bachelor’s degree. Most of the sample tourists are young (Table 1).

5.2. Assessment of Measurement Scales’ Reliability

Before dealing with data, a credibility test to the scale was carried out. This study adopts SPSS19.0 to conduct statistical analysis. Test results shows that the α coefficient is 0.89, higher than the minimum figure which is 0.75 and that the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin turns out to be 0.91, higher than the minimum figure which is 0.9. These figures indicate that no subject needs to be eliminated from the scale.

Table 1. Characteristics of the sample

5.3. The Hierarchical Model of Constraints

The convergent validity of the scale also needs to be examined. Confirmatory factor analysis, CFA, of the data was carried out through maximum likelihood by statistical software AMOS17.0. The consistency between data and the model is evaluated through fitting coefficients and path coefficients. Table 2 demonstrates the critical value of fit index and other indicatives. Since statistical data matches the model well, it can be concluded that hierarchical model of constraints can be applied to the research on Chinese tourists. Also, it can be seen from Table 3 that the inter-item correlations between leisure constraints and other items proved significant, all of which higher than the critical value of 0.4. When exploring credibility, two more figures can be applied to examine composite reliabilities, CR, as well as average variance extracted, AVE. In Table 3, CR is approaching or greater than 0.7, which is a critical value, indicating that there is a high consistency within the scale. AVE is approaching or greater than 0.5, which is a critical value, indicating that there is a close correlation between the total variation and the potential variation, meaning the convergent validity of the model is good.

Therefore, there is a hierarchy structure for leisure constraints when it comes to leisure activities of the Chinese tourists in resorts. This study takes this conclusion as a basis and further explores the relationships among constraint factors, motivations, negotiations and participation.

5.4. Effect of Constraints Negotiation Strategies on China Integrated Resorts

When running a credibility test among potential variables in leisure activities’ Constraint Negotiation Strategies, the value of credibility ranges from 0.77 - 0.82, suggesting that the credibility for each item is good. There are nine items all together to test constraints from three dimensions in the structural equation model, among which four of them are applied to test negotiation strategies, three of them are applied to test motivation and three other are applied to test participation. The model and the items are a good match judging from the data (X2/df = 2.97,RMSEA = 0.051, CFI = 0.93, IFI = 0.93, GFI = 0.93). Table 4 shows the discriminant validity of the potential variables adopted. The value of diagonal elements equals the square root of AVE. The figures below diagonal elements are factor correlation coefficients for different potential variables. It is clear that the square roots of AVE of the four potential variables are greater than factor correlation coefficients of other potential variables, indicating that the discriminant validity of the potential variables is good. Structure model is mainly used to ex-

Table 2. Summary of model fit indices for CFA model

Table 3. Confirmatory factor model for the three constraints

Table 4. The square root of AVE and factor correlation coefficients

amine the relations among constraints, negotiation, motivation and participation. Figure 2 shows the results of the structural equation model. According to Table 5, the four variables, constraints, negotiation motivation and participation, influence one another. T-value of H1-H5 ranges from −2.06 - 10.46. Except H3, the absolute value of other hypotheses is greater than 1.96, indicating that the estimated value of parameters reaches 0.05, which is the standard for significance. On the level of 0.001, the p-value shows significance, suggesting that it is significant that the coefficient of items does not equal to 0. Therefore, four hypotheses, H1, H2, H4, H5, are accepted. Both the T-value and the V-value of H3 are insignificant, indicating that the direct influence of motivation to participation is insignificant and thus H3 is rejected.

6. Discussion and Implication

The aim of this study is to explore the leisure activities of Chinese tourists in resorts from the perspective of the Constraint Negotiation Strategies. Research data shows that the Constraint Negotiation Strategies can be applied to explore constraint factors facing tourists when they intend to make decisions for a coming vacation. The theory can also be exploited to counter negative influence brought by these constraints.

6.1. The Hierarchical Model of Leisure Constraint

Hierarchical constraints also exist in China’s decision-making behavior of tourists; the confirmatory factor analysis results support the Crawford for three different types of constraints, that are personal barriers, interpersonal barriers, structural barriers. But the investigation of the tourist resort area in China discovers that there exists structural impediments on vacationers’ significant performance in the holiday time, income, resort accessibility, which is different from the foreign scholars’ study which proves the personal and interpersonal barriers have more significant results between obstacles [23] [24] . In addition, most respondents tourism and leisure resorts have a keen interest, meantime, they are able to collect travel-related information via the Internet, but generally speaking, they have to face a variety of pressures and responsibilities of life, the lack of realization of the objective conditions for leisure. The results from the structural equation model available, constraints involved in the final resort has a negative effect, but with the negotiation strategy positively correlated, indicating that it is through each layer of different constraints to achieve consensus.

6.2. The Role of Negotiation and Motivation in Constraint Negotiation Model

This study further confirms the application of the constraint-effects-mitigation model in Chinese tourism resorts. The research data is in accordance with the previous studies that motivation and negotiation play an important role in participation [5] [12] . The study shows that motivation is the core of the entire negotiation process and processes a high-positive correlation with the application of negotiation strategies with a correlation coefficient of 0.74. But White (2008) thinks conflict is not directly on the motivation and participation, but through negotiations from the relative strength between the roles [24] . Since a considerable number of Chinese tourists are still accustomed to having sightseeing tour, enjoying the sightseeing of motivation is still greater than other social needs, such as vacation motives. Results on negotiation supports the idea from Hubbard and Mannell (2001) as a constraint on the negotiation and conclusion of the study involving mediating variables., What’s more, it verifies Son’s view (2008) that the relationship between motivation and participation is regulated consultations. For

Figure 2. Results of structural equation model.

Table 5. Summary of hypotheses test result

example, China has a strong tourist resort leisure demand, which motivates people to achieve most of leisure participation and consultation, especially to raise funds, such as changing the schedule. This also shows that China is turning to the international community and leisure travel tours from the norm, but it is currently involved in the tourist resort which is still mainly short-term leisure-oriented.

In summary, the results from the research point of view, tourist resorts and holidays can hardly fully meet the needs of tourists, but be affected by structural constraints and the economy, so the close proximity of leisure ReBAM vacation travel as a negotiation strategy is able to meet the daily leisure participation. Therefore, the resort operating businesses should not only meet the short-term economic benefits, the blind development of various alternatives, long-term holiday should also meet consumer demand based on the current constraints by providing various forms of holiday products to attract more non-sightseeing and leisure consumer groups.

6.3. Implication

Through studying the behavior of Chinese domestic leisure travelers for the study, the results showed that the three types of casual leisure constraints and hierarchical relationships which were commonly used in international tourism study equally adapted to Chinese leisure vacationers. By further confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation model restrict negotiation model and corresponding hypotheses, indicating that structural constraints have a significant impact on participation in Chinese tourists, the tourists often compared role of holiday leisure motivation to the short distance near ReBAM leisure travel as a negotiation strategy to meet the daily leisure participation. Specifically, Chinese have strong leisure motivations, the tourism market is moving from traditional sightseeing to leisure vacation travel and this normal transition is getting closer to international practice. But a large number of Chinese companies continue to introduce various types of tourism and leisure products, and do not get the expected benefits. so in the study, three types of constraints on the reaction of visitors in leisure participation has greatly restricted the role with visible time and economic cost, and facility service quality from the tourist resort also can’t meet the needs of tourists. But we have to admit the current Chinese leisure travel market is experiencing a rapid development period. So leisure demands a better performance for tourists who want to take the initiative to reduce or even eliminate the impact from the policy through consultations constraints on leisure participation caused by coordinating schedules and income levels so as to improve the country to re-examine the issue of national leisure, the restraining effect of such factors will therefore be gradually eliminated. For now, ReBAM-based leisure travel with integrated resort is still the main form of leisure participation of nationals, it is also close to popular leisure behavior of the international community with its own characteristics.

It can be concluded from the measure of constraint factors that constraint factors weigh differently with different subjects. Future studies could focus on the general characteristics of different types of constraints corresponding to the population, leisure behavior and consumption habits, the conclusions might target more to guide practice. Meanwhile, the process of constraint negotiation repeats itself. Once a constraint factor is eliminated by negotiation, it holds the possibility to turn into another constraint factor and therefore a new round of negotiation is needed. Different stages of leisure participation are in correspondence with different negotiation process. Future studies can bring more depth into this topic by exploring those different stages.


This research work is supported by Jinan University’s Scientific Research Creativeness Cultivation Project for Outstanding Undergraduates Recommended for Postgraduate Study and OCT Enterprises Co. Smart Scenic Area Construction Research: Path Selection, Technical Architecture and Application System.


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