Correcting for multiple destination trips in recreational use values using a mean-value approach; An application to Bellenden Ker National Park, Australia
This paper focuses on an empirical application of the travel cost method, to estimate the recreational use value of Bellenden Ker National Park, part of the Wet tropics World Heritage Area Queensland, Australia. Walking appears to be one of the main activities associated with recreational experiences in the region. Substantial socio-economic as well as environmental benefits are expected to be gained if the areas was to be developed further, with regard to walking tracks, provided that this would be done in an environmentally sustainable way. Two overnight tracks within the park have been selected to obtain information about visitors’ experiences with the tracks in the past, to address specific needs for possible future developments. A standard assumption for interpreting travel costs as a valid proxy for the price of a trip is that the travel cost be incurred exclusively to visit that particular site. However, this assumption often proves to be invalid as people tend to combine destinations. We propose a method commonly used in multi-criteria decision-making to correct for multiple trip bias. A value of $AUS 15.2 mln has been estimated as the net present value of recreational use in 2001 values at about six percent real rate of interest in perpetuity. This value appears to be rather small compared to other TCM studies undertaken in the area, for national parks that were similar in size and visitor numbers.
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