Assessment bias of environmental quality (AEQ), consideration of future consequences (CFC), and environmentally responsible behavior (ERB) in tourism

Hongmei Zhang, Yechen Zhang, Zibing Song, Alan A Lew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Optimism bias in the environmental field and its effects on environmental behaviors have not been well investigated to date. This study examines if temporal and spatial biases exist when tourists assess the environment’s current and projected quality of (1) their residential places, (2) their travel destinations, and (3) a country overall. Thereafter, we examined the effects of assessment bias and consideration of future consequences on tourists’ environmental behaviors (including behaviors in destinations and general behaviors). In a sample of Chinese domestic tourists, temporal optimism was dominant in their assessment of the future environmental quality for all three spatial areas, above. Spatial optimism was found when comparing residential places and destinations to the whole country, but spatial pessimism was found when comparing residential places to destinations. Assessment bias was not associated with the environmentally responsible behavior (ERB) of tourists. However, the consideration of future consequences and absolute environmental quality assessment did have a significant influence on their ERB. Furthermore, the general ERB of tourists had a significant effect on their site-specific destination ERB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • China
  • Comparative optimism
  • consideration of future consequences
  • environmental quality assessment
  • tourist destinations
  • tourists’ environmentally responsible behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Cite this