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Deng, J., Che, T., Xiao, C., Wang, S., Dai, L., & Meerzhan, A. (2019). Suitability Analysis of Ski Areas in China: An Integrated Study Based on Natural and Socioeconomic Conditions. The Cryosphere, 13, 2149–2167.
Abstract: The successful bidding of the 2022 Winter Olympics (Beijing 2022, officially known as the XXIV Olympic Winter Games) has greatly stimulated Chinese enthusiasm to participate in winter sports. Consequently, the Chinese ski industry is rapidly booming driven by enormous market demand and government support. However, investing in ski area at an unreasonable location will cause problems both from economic perspective (in terms of operation and management) as well as geographical concerns (such as environmental degradation). To evaluate the suitability of a ski area based on scientific 20 metrics has since become a prerequisite to the sustainable development of ski industry. In this study, we evaluate the locational suitability of ski areas in China by integrating their natural and socioeconomic conditions using linear weighted method based on geographic information systems (GIS) spatial analysis combined with remote sensing, online and field survey data. Key indexes for evaluating the natural suitability include snow cover, air temperature, topographic conditions, groundwater, and vegetation, whereas socioeconomic suitability is evaluated based on economic conditions, accessibility of transportation, 25 distance to tourist attractions, and distance to cities. As such, an integrated metrics considering both natural and socioeconomic suitability is defined to be a threshold and used to identify the suitability of a candidate region for ski area development. The results show that 92% of existing ski areas are located in areas with an integrated index greater than 0.5. In contrary, a ski area is considered to be a dismal prospect when the locational integrated index is less than 0.5. Finally, corresponding development strategies for decision-makers are proposed based on the multi-criteria metrics, which will be extended to incorporate potential influences from future climate change and socioeconomic development.