New Economic Insights and Case Studies
Chapter 8: A Case Study of an NGO’s Ecotourism Efforts: Findings Based on a Survey of Visitors to its Tropical Nature Reserve
8.1 INTRODUCTION Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have been active in recent times in acquiring and securing land for the purpose of conserving wildlife. Such organisations have gone beyond politically advocating nature conservation to become its active practitioners. In Australia, as noted in the previous chapter, relatively large organisations doing this include the Australian Nature Conservancy, Birds Australia and the Bush Heritage Trust. There are many such NGOs of varying sizes in Australia and globally and they differ in their wildlife conservation strategies and practices. Some modify the environments they acquire to benefit wildlife whereas others do not. Some foster tourism to their conservation sites whereas others do not. The involvement of NGOs directly in nature conservation implies that an effective demand exists for the provision of nature conservation which is not satisfied by the state or by private initiatives. Those NGOs that focus on the non-use conservation of wildlife (and do not, for example, foster tourist or recreational visits to their sites) basically provide pure public goods. For example, they add to the existence and bequest value of wildlife species. Those conservation NGOs that encourage visits by tourists and recreationalists to their sites provide mixed goods. They ‘produce’ public goods as well as quasi-private goods such as the non-consumptive use of their sites for visits by tourists. The Mareeba Wetland Foundation is an NGO concentrating on wildlife conservation and catering for tourists at the Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve on the Atherton Tablelands in northern Queensland. It, therefore, falls into...
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