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Economic Value of Cultural Ecosystem Services from Recreation in Popa Mountain National Park, Myanmar: A Comparison of Two Rapid Valuation Techniques

Wai Soe Zin, Aya Suzuki, Kelvin S.-H. Peh and Alexandros Gasparatos
Additional contact information
Wai Soe Zin: Environmental Conservation Department, P.O. Box 30522, 000100 Naypyidaw, Myanmar
Kelvin S.-H. Peh: School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Alexandros Gasparatos: Institute for Future Initiatives (IFI), University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan

Land, 2019, vol. 8, issue 12, 1-20

Abstract: Protected areas offer diverse ecosystem services, including cultural services related to recreation, which contribute manifold to human wellbeing and the economy. However, multiple pressures from other human activities often compromise ecosystem service delivery from protected areas. It is thus fundamental for effective management to understand the recreational values and visitor behaviors in such areas. This paper undertakes a rapid assessment of the economic value of cultural ecosystem services related to recreation in a national park in Myanmar using two valuation techniques, the individual travel cost method (TCM) and the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA v.1.2). We focus on the Popa Mountain National Park, a protected area visited by approximately 800,000 domestic and 25,000 international tourists annually. Individual TCM estimates that each domestic visitor spent USD 20–24 per trip, and the total annual recreational value contributed by these visitors was estimated at USD 16.1–19.6 million (USD 916–1111 ha −1 ). TESSA estimated the annual recreational expenditure from domestic and international visitors at USD 15.1 million (USD 858 ha −1 ) and USD 5.04 million (USD 286 ha −1 ), respectively. Both methods may be employed as practical approaches to assess the recreational values of protected areas (and other land uses with recreational value), and they have rather complementary approaches. We recommend that both techniques be combined into a single survey protocol.

Keywords: cultural ecosystem services; eco-tourism; nature-based recreation; tourism; travel cost method; TESSA (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q15 Q2 Q24 Q28 Q5 R14 R52 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:8:y:2019:i:12:p:194-:d:298049