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Estimating the Visitors Willingness to Pay for An Entrance Fee of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, The Nilgiris: A Contingent Valuation Approach

V. Rajkumar, S. Boopathi

Abstract



Reserves, sanctuaries and other similar areas are all ecological units which have both monetary as well as ecological gains to those related with them. Apart from this, the tourism industries of emerging nations like India are benefitted in more ways than one. But, unfortunately the maintenance of such protected areas is not economically viable due to shortage of funds. The areas lack stable sources of income. In such a state of affairs, the option of increasing the entrance fee charged to visitors can be considered. Hence, the primary objective of this paper is to estimate visitors’ willingness to pay (WTP) for environmental conservation and analyze factors influencing WTP for higher entrance fee by using contingent valuation method in Mudumalai Tiger Reserves (MTR), The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. A purposive sampling technique was used to choose 372 visitors and the logistic regression analysis was employed to investigate factors that influencing WTP for higher entrance fee in MTR. The empirical result shows that the majority of the respondents (72%) were willing to pay a higher entrance fee and the average willingness to pay was Rs.52.58 for the purpose of environmental conservation, whereas the remaining 28% were unwilling to pay a higher entrance fee. According to the logistic regression result, respondent education, respondent’s occupation, family income and distance were the most significant predictors of the visitors’ WTP. Thus, keeping the policy in view the outcome of this research advises increasing the visitor entrance fee from Rs.15 to Rs.50 as it will facilitate better revenue to the management, in addition to providing financial independence and efficiency in a feasible method of biosphere preservation.

Keywords


Protected area, Entrance fee, Contingent valuation method, Willingness to pay, Logistic regression.

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