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Guojie (Desmond) Zhang

Doctoral Research AbstractGuojie Zhang lakeside view

The prosperity of New Zealand tourism benefits from a relatively pristine natural environment. Influenced by a restoration narrative which emphasises the value of conservation and restoration of native and endemic species and ecosystems, predator-free fenced ecosanctuaries of New Zealand have mushroomed in recent years. In order to diversify revenue streams and engage in conservation advocacy, some of these projects have increasingly developed nature-based tourism and targeted international tourism. However, little is known about the experiences of international visitors at these ecological restoration projects. The objective of this research is to examine how the ecological restoration of the fenced ecosanctuaries are perceived by international visitors and stakeholders through a frame of environmental philosophy, and reveal their implications to the visitor experience. Environmental philosophy is the philosophical study of general and fundamental problems concerning the natural environment and its relationship with human beings. By drawing upon environmental philosophy, specifically theories informed by environmental ethics and aesthetics to address the research questions, this empirical research intends to shed light on the cross-cultural dynamics related to the ethical and aesthetical treatment of wildlife in the context of nature-based tourism and ecological restoration in New Zealand.


Master of Tourism (Distinguished). Tourism Department, Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand (2015)
Bachelor of Teaching Chinese as Second Language (TCSL). Faculty of Arts, Heilongjiang University, Harbin, China (2013)

Scholarships and Awards

University of Otago Doctoral Scholarship - University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand (2016)

Primary Research Interests

Nature-Based Tourism

Including: Visitor experience at nature-based attractions; Environmental values and attitudes; Environmental management at tourism attractions; Wildlife tourism and ecotourism.

Sustainable Tourism

Particularly: Environmental sustainability and tourism management

Other research interests

Cultural divergence and visitor experience; Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism; Social enterprise and tourism development;

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant (lecturing, tutoring or marking):

Ecotourism and sustainable development (2017)
Interpreting Business Data (2017)

Guest lecturer:

Special Topic: Social Entrepreneurship (2015)