IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

User fees as sustainable financing mechanisms for marine protected areas: An application to the Bonaire National Marine Park


  • Thur, Steven M.


Marine protected areas (MPAs) have proliferated globally in the past three decades. However, inadequate funding often prevents these management regimes from fulfilling their missions. Managers have become increasingly aware that successful protection of marine ecosystems is dependent not only upon an understanding of their biological and physical processes, but also their associated social and economic aspects. Unfortunately, economic values associated with MPAs and the natural resources they protect are rarely considered in decision-making and policy development. This study addresses this information gap by examining scuba divers' willingness to pay for access to quality recreational sites in the Bonaire National Marine Park, Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. The findings indicate that the US$10 annual diver user fee in effect at the time of the study could be increased substantially without a significant adverse effect on island tourism. Depending on question format, mean willingness to pay for annual access ranged from US$61 to US$134 (2002$). All model specifications support the conclusion that doubling the US$10 user fee would have virtually no impact on visitation rates. The increased revenue generated from this sustainable financing mechanism is more than sufficient to fund both current and enhanced marine park operations.

Suggested Citation

  • Thur, Steven M., 2010. "User fees as sustainable financing mechanisms for marine protected areas: An application to the Bonaire National Marine Park," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 63-69, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:34:y:2010:i:1:p:63-69

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rees, Siân E. & Mangi, Stephen C. & Hattam, Caroline & Gall, Sarah C. & Rodwell, Lynda D. & Peckett, Frankie J. & Attrill, Martin J., 2015. "The socio-economic effects of a Marine Protected Area on the ecosystem service of leisure and recreation," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 144-152.
    2. Kaffashi, Sara & Yacob, Mohd Rusli & Clark, Maynard S. & Radam, Alias & Mamat, Mohd Farid, 2015. "Exploring visitors' willingness to pay to generate revenues for managing the National Elephant Conservation Center in Malaysia," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 9-19.
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:5:p:1525-:d:145725 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:touman:v:50:y:2015:i:c:p:1-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Halkos, George E. & Jones, Nikoleta, 2012. "Modeling the effect of social factors on improving biodiversity protection," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 90-99.
    6. Gill, David A. & Schuhmann, Peter W. & Oxenford, Hazel A., 2015. "Recreational diver preferences for reef fish attributes: Economic implications of future change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 48-57.
    7. Dimmock, Kay & Musa, Ghazali, 2015. "Scuba Diving Tourism System: A framework for collaborative management and sustainability," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 52-58.
    8. repec:eee:ecoser:v:11:y:2015:i:c:p:56-66 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Lee, Gunwoo & Kim, Soo-Yeob & Lee, Min-Kyu, 2015. "Economic evaluation of vessel traffic service (VTS): A contingent valuation study," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 149-154.
    10. repec:eee:touman:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:140-146 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Pascoe, Sean & Doshi, Amar & Thébaud, Olivier & Thomas, Colette R. & Schuttenberg, Heidi Z. & Heron, Scott F. & Setiasih, Naneng & Tan, James C.H. & True, James & Wallmo, Kristy & Loper, Christy & Cal, 2014. "Estimating the potential impact of entry fees for marine parks on dive tourism in South East Asia," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 147-152.
    12. repec:eee:touman:v:37:y:2013:i:c:p:58-70 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:touman:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:141-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Grafeld, Shanna & Oleson, Kirsten & Barnes, Michele & Peng, Marcus & Chan, Catherine & Weijerman, Mariska, 2016. "Divers' willingness to pay for improved coral reef conditions in Guam: An untapped source of funding for management and conservation?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 202-213.
    15. repec:eee:ecoser:v:11:y:2015:i:c:p:45-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Halkos, George & Jones, Nikoleta, 2011. "Social factors influencing the decision to pay for the protection of biodiversity: A case study in two national parks of Northern Greece," MPRA Paper 34581, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Chen, Jyun-Long & Chen, Jun-Yu & Chuang, Ching-Ta & Lu, Hsueh-Jung & Liu, Hsiang-Hsi & Lin, Yu-Shang, 2014. "Developing a co-management financing mechanism to enhance the financial sustainability of marine protected areas in Taiwan," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 126-133.
    18. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:124-128 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. repec:eee:ecoser:v:16:y:2015:i:c:p:294-305 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Stephanie F. Stefanski & Jay P. Shimshack, 2016. "Valuing Marine Biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico: Evidence from the Proposed Boundary Expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary," Marine Resource Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(2), pages 211-232.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:34:y:2010:i:1:p:63-69. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.