Valuing recreational and conservation benefits of coral reefs—The case of Bolinao, Philippines
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The recognition of recreational and conservation benefits of coral reefs globally provides a sound economic rationale for their management. The value of recreational and conservation benefits of coral reefs along the Lingayen Gulf, Bolinao, Philippines is evaluated using travel cost and contingent valuation methods, respectively. Empirical results generated consumer surplus valued at PhP10,463 (US$223) per person per annum or potential net annual revenues to the local economy worth PhP220.2 million (US$4.7 million) from an estimated 21,042 visitors to Bolinao in 2000. However, willingness to pay (WTP) values (in absolute terms and as a percentage of income) for the conservation of coral reefs at Bolinao that were elicited are low, particularly among domestic tourists. This implies that preservation of natural resources and the environment may not be an immediate priority among local travelers due to socio-economic considerations in developing countries, such as the Philippines and the public goods nature of the recreational services provided by coral reefs. These results have further implications for determining the values of coral reefs to support public investment for their conservation and management. The roles of advocacy, education, and awareness campaigns have been highlighted to create a larger WTP for the management of coral reefs. (C) 2006 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
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