New Economic Insights and Case Studies
Chapter 3: The User-Pays Principle and Conservation in National Parks: Review and Australian Case Study
3.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter explores the rather contentious issue of introducing entry fees to national parks and nature reserves. There has been much discussion about the introduction of charges to enter national parks during the past few decades. Many strong arguments have been put forward for and against the introduction of such charges. This chapter examines charges and fees for entry to national parks and visitors’ attitudes to such charges with special reference to Australia. Some countries such as Australia charge low entry fees to enter national parks and nature reserves and in some states such as Queensland there are no charges or fees, except in a few cases. However, there is considerable debate as to whether national parks should start charging or increase entry fees to supplement funding from government so that more conservation work can be undertaken, wildlife habitats can be improved, visitor facilities enhanced and more land brought under the umbrella of ‘protected area’. As it stands, national parks and protected areas are short of funding and, therefore, are unable to undertake most of the above-mentioned activities. Due to these funding constraints, it is likely that many countries will examine the issue of charging entry fees seriously while some countries have already begun to implement such user fees. The purpose of this chapter is not to determine an optimal price for visitors or to examine the welfare effects of such a price. Such an exercise is beyond the scope of this work. This chapter examines the relevant...
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