Keywords: contingent valuation, ecotourism, management, monetary valuation, planning, travel cost method
Monetary valuation as a tool for planning and managing ecotourism
While the techniques of monetary valuation are firmly grounded in economic theory and have a substantial record of practical application, planners and managers of ecotourism have not embraced them with particular enthusiasm. The explanation offered in this paper has two main strands. On the demand side, those involved in planning and managing ecotourism have, for a number of reasons, tended to be wary of monetary valuation. Consequently, most of the monetary valuation studies that have been commissioned and subsequently undertaken have tended to be overly conservative in their aims and scope. On the supply side, meanwhile, economists have too often failed to explain how the results of such studies could be used to promote the objectives of ecotourism. Planners and managers of ecotourism have therefore remained largely unconvinced of the practicality of monetary valuation. Arguably, however, there is a considerable latent potential for the application of monetary valuation techniques in the ecotourism context. This paper attempts to demonstrate this potential by identifying and illustrating a number of practical uses for monetary valuation in the context of planning and managing ecotourism.