Willingness to pay for marine-based tourism in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, Mozambique
Marine and coastal ecosystems face widespread degradation largely because market failure hides the economic value of the goods and services they provide. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can serve as structures that ensure the continued functioning of marine and coastal ecosystem goods and services. Yet, to be effective and sustainable, MPAs must be able to prove their economic worth and generate revenue. User-fee systems are used commonly to partially finance multi-use MPAs. This study applies contingent valuation as a method of economic valuation within an MPA in southern Mozambique. Using a payment card and questionnaire from November 2012 to April 2013, this study determined the willingness to pay (WTP) of three user groups for access to the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve. The study also investigated the potential for the reserve to increase revenues for conservation through the implementation of a user fee for marine-based activities. Probit and ordinary least squares (OLS) regressions were used to determine the effects of various independent variables on WTP. The OLS model found income, African residency and environmental awareness to be significant factors that influenced visitors’ WTP for access to the reserve. The mean WTP was R 43.75 (South African rands) per person per day. Using data supplied by the reserve management, conservative estimated annual revenues based on the implementation of this fee amount ranged between R 1.46 million and R 3.3 million.
Keywords: contingent valuation method, marine protected areas, payment card, questionnaire, user fee