Effects of Great Barrier Reef Degradation on Recreational Demand: A Contingent Behaviour Approach
Degradation of coral reefs may affect the number of tourists visiting the reef and, consequently, the economic sectors that rely on healthy reefs for their income generation. A Contingent Behaviour approach is used to estimate the effect of reef degradation on demand for recreational dive and snorkel trips, for a case study of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. We assessed how reef degradation affects GBR tourism and to what extent reef-trip demand depends on the visitors’ socio-economic characteristics. A count data model is developed, and results indicate that an average visitor would undertake about 60% less reef trips per year given a combined 80%, 30% and 70% decrease in coral cover, coral diversity and fish diversity, respectively. This corresponds to a decrease in tourism expenditure for reef trips to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park of about A$ 136 million per year.
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