Can conservation in protected areas and visitor preferences converge? An empirical study in Central Chile
The assessment of visitors’ willingness to pay (WTP) to achieve scenarios that guarantee good conservation status in protected areas and that positively contribute to visitor experience is crucial to revealing the potential to harmonize the development of naturebased tourism and the conservation of biodiversity. We estimated visitors’ WTP for a variety of environmental attributes in a protected area in a biodiversity hotspot in central Chile. Using a choice experiment (CE), WTP was estimated for the protection of animals, plants, and soil; for guaranteeing the provision of ecosystem services related to water resources; and for increasing touristic infrastructure. Among animals and plants, the marginal mean WTP/visitor/visit for single levels of variation in the attribute ranged from ~ US $1.4 (for herbaceous species) to ~ US $7 (for birds). The WTP for soil protection in camping areas and walking trails reached a mean of ~ US $2.8. The mean WTP for guaranteeing the provision of water benefits ranged from US $− 1.98 (for activities such as hydroelectricity and mining) to ~ US $5.6 (for the conservation of biodiversity and ecological processes). Small increases in infrastructure for recreation are well accepted by visitors (a mean WTP of US $1.50) compared to medium or large increases, which generate a negative WTP. Our results indicate that the protected area conservation and visitor preferences can converge. Broader assessments that include multiple biological attributes have emerged as useful approaches in designing management strategies for protected areas that align with conservation goals and visitor preferences.
MateriasWillingness to pay
Nature based tourism
Less popular biodiversity
OrigenBiodivers Conserv (2018) 27:1431–1451
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