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International Handbook on the Economics of Tourism

Edited by Larry Dwyer and Peter Forsyth

This highly accessible and comprehensive Handbook presents a cutting edge discussion of the state of tourism economics and its likely directions in future research. Leading researchers in the field explore a wide range of topics including: demand and forecasting, supply, transport, taxation and infrastructure, evaluation and application for policy-making. Each chapter includes a discussion of its relevance and importance to the tourism economics literature, an overview of its main contributions and themes, a critical evaluation of existing literature and an outline of issues for further conceptual and applied research.
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Chapter 16: Valuation of Tourism’s Natural Resources

Clem Tisdell


Clem Tisdell Introduction and importance Much tourism depends on the environment(s) at the destination(s) of tourists. Such environments may be natural, cultural, or partly man-made and partly natural. In fact, few tourist destinations involve completely natural environments. For example, the environments of most national parks are to some extent human modified, for instance by access roads, walking tracks, built facilities such as toilets, picnic tables and camping areas (often near entry points) and so on. Because access to many environmental goods, such as beaches, national parks and other open-air recreational facilities are either not priced or only partially priced, there is a danger of their not being valued (when they are economically valuable) or of their being undervalued from an economic point of view. Consequently, this can distort economic resource allocation. Land areas which would be best left in a relatively natural state for tourism and other purposes may, for example, be developed for uses such as agriculture or housing. From an economics perspective, rational decisions about resource use or allocation require appropriate economic valuations to be made about their alternative uses. Pigou (1938), in developing the subject of welfare economics, suggested that economic valuation might be best based, from an operational viewpoint, on monetary values. Money enables economic values to be expressed in a single unit of measurement and facilitates the comparison of economic values. It is the basis of social cost–benefit analysis. According to this approach, the aim of economic valuation of a...

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