Estimating International Tourist Preferences Relating to Ecotourism in a Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize

  • Estimating International Tourist Preferences Relating to Ecotourism in a Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize

Presentation by Ismael Teul at the 1st Belize National Research Conference, March 2018.

 

 

 

Abstract 

One of the most important understanding of our time is the realization that human and natural systems cannot be separated (Kareiva & Marvier, 2012). By understanding both systems, appropriate management plans can be created to ensure the wellbeing of both systems. Ecotourism is argued to be a good tool for conservation, however, it is without its weaknesses, which are mainly caused by poor management and lack of public support (Das & Chatterjee 2015). Case studies in Belize reveal a strong support for conservation (Seidle et al. 2014), however, tourism is not providing adequate funds for conservation (Lindberg et al. 1996, National Protected Areas Technical Committee, 2015). Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is on such case. The main question in this research is, “Is there low support for conservation efforts among international tourists in Belize or is this support undervalued by protected area managers?” Using the choice experiment methodology this study found a high support for biodiversity conservation, and high willingness to pay for entrance fees. The results show that international visitors were willing to almost three times more to access the wildlife sanctuary. There are however, varying preference, those who were willing to pay high, had a high preference for solitude. This study reveals that there is high support and willingness to pay among international visitors for conservation efforts in Belize, and that this support is undervalued by protected area managers.

 

 

 

 

Key words: ecotourism, Cockscomb wildlife sanctuary, conservation, protected areas

 

 

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