Opportunities and limitations of contingent valuation surveys to determine national park entrance fees: evidence from Costa Rica
A contingent valuation method (CVM) survey to determine foreign and resident willingness to pay (WTP) for return visits to two different Costa Rican national parks was administered in 1995. WTP values were estimated for future entrance fees associated with proposed improvements to infrastructure and services in the Poas Volcano and the Manuel Antonio parks. Resulting logistic CVM models were statistically robust and mean WTP for entrance fees differed among the parks and were considerably higher than current fees. Results indicate that even in a developing country setting, the CVM is a useful tool to help determine park entrance fees in spite of the following methodological limitations which are recommended for further study: the need to include potential park visitors in survey samples; the lack of detailed information framing and contingent scenarios for park related WTP questions; and the threat of cultural-strategic biases when surveying residents of a developing country.
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