Combining the travel cost and contingent behavior methods to value cultural heritage sites: Evidence from Armenia
This paper combines the travel cost method (TCM) with contingent behavior questions to estimate domestic visitors’ use values for cultural heritage sites in Armenia, a transition economy in which conservation of cultural monuments is hampered by limited resources. Respondents intercepted at four cultural monuments provided information on their visitation patterns, experience at the site, perception of the state of conservation of the monuments, and rating of the quality of the services and infrastructure. We combine actual trips with stated trips under hypothetical programs that would enhance the conservation of the monuments and improve one of (i) the cultural experience at the site, (ii) the quality of the infrastructure, or (iii) the quality of the services, and use the combined actual and stated trips to fit a panel data model. Our study is one of the few applications of the TCM to value cultural heritage sites. Our investigation shows that (i) significant use values are associated with the four study monuments, and (ii) conservation programs and initiatives that improve the cultural experience, or simply make it easier for the respondent to reach and spend time at the monument, are valued by domestic visitors and would encourage higher visitation rates. Actual and intended trips reported by the respondents exhibit good construct validity, in the sense that they are well predicted by price, location, hypothetical scenario and other individual characteristics of the respondents. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006
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