What are tourists willing to pay for securing the survival of a flagship species? The case of protection of the Ethiopian wolf

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Abstract

Ecotourism can be an important tool for protecting biodiversity in developing countries. Tourists have preferences for viewing charismatic species and for their conservation, but our understanding of these preferences remains limited. Using choice experiment surveys, we investigate tourists’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the protection of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park. Results from a random parameter logit model show that tourists were willing to pay up to US$5.82/day/trip for increasing the wolf population from 200 to a more viable number of 250 but very little for a more substantial increase. Tourists also valued increases in the size of the protected area (PA) and access to the wolf habitat. The WTP is found to be dependent on tourists’ prior experience to Ethiopian PAs and whether they had viewed other unique species in the park. The findings suggest opportunities for ecotourism to support the Ethiopian wolf, which is in a critical state, and that the primary motivation for tourists’ support might be due to the wolf’s existence value.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTourism Economics
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2019

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ecotourism
willingness to pay
tourist
critical state
protected area
national park
developing world
biodiversity
mountain
habitat
experiment
Tourists
conservation
developing country
parameter
Values
experience

Cite this

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title = "What are tourists willing to pay for securing the survival of a flagship species? The case of protection of the Ethiopian wolf",
abstract = "Ecotourism can be an important tool for protecting biodiversity in developing countries. Tourists have preferences for viewing charismatic species and for their conservation, but our understanding of these preferences remains limited. Using choice experiment surveys, we investigate tourists’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the protection of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park. Results from a random parameter logit model show that tourists were willing to pay up to US$5.82/day/trip for increasing the wolf population from 200 to a more viable number of 250 but very little for a more substantial increase. Tourists also valued increases in the size of the protected area (PA) and access to the wolf habitat. The WTP is found to be dependent on tourists’ prior experience to Ethiopian PAs and whether they had viewed other unique species in the park. The findings suggest opportunities for ecotourism to support the Ethiopian wolf, which is in a critical state, and that the primary motivation for tourists’ support might be due to the wolf’s existence value.",
keywords = "charismatic species, choice experiment, ecotourism, Ethiopian wolf, protected area, willingness to pay",
author = "Tafesse Estifanos and Maksym Polyakov and Ram Pandit and Atakelty Hailu and Michael Burton",
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AU - Polyakov, Maksym

AU - Pandit, Ram

AU - Hailu, Atakelty

AU - Burton, Michael

PY - 2019/10/10

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N2 - Ecotourism can be an important tool for protecting biodiversity in developing countries. Tourists have preferences for viewing charismatic species and for their conservation, but our understanding of these preferences remains limited. Using choice experiment surveys, we investigate tourists’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the protection of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park. Results from a random parameter logit model show that tourists were willing to pay up to US$5.82/day/trip for increasing the wolf population from 200 to a more viable number of 250 but very little for a more substantial increase. Tourists also valued increases in the size of the protected area (PA) and access to the wolf habitat. The WTP is found to be dependent on tourists’ prior experience to Ethiopian PAs and whether they had viewed other unique species in the park. The findings suggest opportunities for ecotourism to support the Ethiopian wolf, which is in a critical state, and that the primary motivation for tourists’ support might be due to the wolf’s existence value.

AB - Ecotourism can be an important tool for protecting biodiversity in developing countries. Tourists have preferences for viewing charismatic species and for their conservation, but our understanding of these preferences remains limited. Using choice experiment surveys, we investigate tourists’ preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the protection of the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park. Results from a random parameter logit model show that tourists were willing to pay up to US$5.82/day/trip for increasing the wolf population from 200 to a more viable number of 250 but very little for a more substantial increase. Tourists also valued increases in the size of the protected area (PA) and access to the wolf habitat. The WTP is found to be dependent on tourists’ prior experience to Ethiopian PAs and whether they had viewed other unique species in the park. The findings suggest opportunities for ecotourism to support the Ethiopian wolf, which is in a critical state, and that the primary motivation for tourists’ support might be due to the wolf’s existence value.

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KW - choice experiment

KW - ecotourism

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KW - protected area

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