An economic analysis of willingness to pay (WTP) for conserving the biodiversity
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to study the impact of eco-tourism on the socio-economic characteristics of the native inhabitants and natural resources in Anamalai Tiger Reserve (ATR), India. The paper estimates the recreational value and measures the willingness to pay (WTP) of the stakeholders and tourists to conserve the forest eco-system. Design/methodology/approach - The paper draws upon theories and issues of eco-tourism to examine the economic value of forest ecosystem, including direct and indirect use values of the ecological regulatory services. The 60 sample stakeholders of the study were agricultural and forest dependents and tourist dependents in addition to 60 visitors of ATR spot. Findings - The travel cost had a significant negative influence on frequency of visits, while education had a positive impact. The agriculture and forest dependents, tourist dependents and tourists were WTP an average amount of Rs 202 (US$4.03), Rs 449 (US$9.55) and Rs 656 (US$14.00)/annum, respectively, towards internalizing eco-tourism-related externalities. The option value of conserving the ATR was estimated by contingent valuation method using bidding game technique. Education and number of animal species sighted have positively related to WTP and was highly significant. Social implications - The paper addresses the attitude of people towards conservation of the forest biodiversity, as well as increasing the income of the people via eco-tourism. Originality/value - The outcome implies that eco-tourism will reduce the dependency of forest and also create more employment and other tourism-related income augmenting activities and thus enhancing additional income through tourism related occupations. The paper suggests the establishment of several other eco-parks in Tamil Nadu for protecting the biodiversity as well as generating additional income and improving the livelihood security of the population.
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Volume (Year): 37 (2010)
Issue (Month): 8 (September)
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