Economic Valuation of the Environment and the Travel Cost Approach: The Case of Ayubia Natioanl Park

Publication Year : 2003

Environmental and natural resource systems such as lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries, forests, and parks provide goods in terms of resources (e.g., flora, fauna, and minerals) and services (e.g., waste sink assimilation), a source of amenity services, use for recreational purposes, and life-support functions. Knowledge of the values of these services may be important for a variety of reasons. Access to such resources for recreation is typically not allocated through markets. Rather, access is typically open to all visitors at a zero price or a nominal entrance fee that bears no relationship to the cost of providing access. And there is no or little variation in these access prices over time or across sites to provide data for econometric estimation of demand functions [Freeman (1993); Nillesen (2002)]. Ever since the second half of the twentieth century, concern about current and future use of our natural resources and environment has emerged at an increasing rate. This growing concern is accompanied by an increasing interest in so-called nature-based ecotourism. Presently, both benefits and threats have been observed resulting from the growing importance of ecotourism in environmentally sensitive areas [Nillesen (2002)]. Ecotourism plays an important role in increasing natural resource conservation and economic growth. It may also lead to management and policy challenges.