Evaluation monétaire de la qualité de paysage / Evaluation of the landscape quality
The aim of this project is to quantify in monetary terms the value of the landscape in the Alps for both residents and tourists. To do this, we selected the hedonic price method from the holistic quantitative methods for landscape evaluation. This method assumes that the cost of a good –as can be observed on a market– does not reflects the utility of the good itself, but the utility its characteristics in the eyes of the consumer. Thus, we put forward the hypothesis that one of these characteristics may be an environmental attribute, such as the quality of the landscape. Seen from this perspective, the price of the good (in the case in question the rent paid by tourists and residents for apartment accommodation) results from the juxtaposition of implicit prices, for example the price of the landscape. A sample comprising 510 apartments, distributed at the rate of 403 for tourists and 107 for residents, was selected in six Alpine stations in the Swiss canton of Valais. Among the 80 characteristics adopted for the purpose of the analysis, the characteristic «landscape» was understood in two ways: quality of the natural and built landscape at each station and access to the landscape from each apartment. The main challenge of this research resided in obtaining quantitative values that enable the representation of the qualitative dimension of the landscape. This was made possible using the MACBETH approach. Leaving aside certain “conventional” characteristics that influence the rents paid by residents and tourists, the implicit prices revealed by the hedonistic functions show that for a relative improvement in the quality of the natural landscape of 0.1 points, the estimated rent varies by around 2% for tourists. The same applies for residents. With regard to the quality of the built landscape, a relative increase of 0.1 points gives rise to a positive variation in rent for tourists estimated at 0.2%. Conversely, a relative increase in the quality of the built landscape is perceived negatively by residents and thus gives rise to a depreciation of 0.8%. Thus, it may be suggested that both tourists and residents have similar preferences with regard to the quality of the natural landscape, however their preferences differ in regard to the built landscape. Variations in rent prices can also be explained by access to the landscape. Finally, our analysis reveals that both groups of actors value the fact of being located at a distance from the station’s main infrastructure; this is expressed in a positive willingness to pay for locations away from the centre of the station, the ski lifts and food shops. Furthermore, and as assumed, the implicit price for an increase in the length of ski slopes and hiking trails is positive for tourists, whereas it is negative for residents.
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