Essay on Protecting And Conserving Natural Habitats And Ecosystems

Essay on Protecting And Conserving Natural Habitats And Ecosystems

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Over the last two decades there has been a heightened emphasis on protecting and conserving natural habitats and ecosystems in order to protect the environment (Saayman et al., 2015). This has resulted in an increased desire to participate in nature-based and wildlife viewing activities before it is too late, and a corresponding rise in popularity of ecotourism (Tonder et al., 2013). Today, more so than ever before, there has been a significant focus around ensuring that tourism development is biologically sustainable (Kruger and Saayman, 2013, cited in Saayman et al., 2015). However, a lot of tourism destinations have suffered from a decrease in government funding designated to the management and upkeep of natural based attractions (Eagles et al., 2002). As a result, this trend, along with the growth of visitor numbers and consequently an increase in environmental impacts, threatens nature-based tourism activities (Reynisdottir et al., 2008). Furthermore, tourism mangers have to put a price on natural attractions by charging entrance fees. To ensure this does not deter visitors, tourism researchers have had to investigate how much customers are willing to pay for their product. This essay aims to not only define, but also explain the theory of ‘willingness to pay’ and critically discuss its application in tourism research and natural attractions. More specifically, the essay will use nature-based forms of tourism such as ecotourism to assess how willingness to pay is applied in practice
The concept of willingness to pay (WTP) is simply the total price a consumer is prepared to pay for a specific product (Franke and Schreier, 2008). A more traditional theory of economics expects that the more expensive a product is, the fewer the ...


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...demographic factors, thus it’s essential to contemplate the determinants when applying entrance fees for natural attractions (Reynisdottir et al., 2008). This is because the new potential costs involved may cause concerns of equity. There have been a lot of research studies on nature-based tourism activities, and how low-income consumers are more affected by price alterations compared to high-income consumers (More and Stevens, 2000). It is reasonable to accept that visitors WTP may be, to an extent, affected by their ability to pay (Reynisdottir et al., 2008). Furthermore, even if a tourist greatly values the visit to a particular nature-based attraction and are willing to pay for it, they may not have the ability to do so. Consequently, the argument of equity emerges around whether entry fees discriminate against lower-income customers (Reynisdottir et al,. 2008).

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