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Abstract

As the population and per capita income of the United States continues to increase, opportunities for individuals to participate in travel and tourism related activities are likely to multiply as well. Coastal tourism destinations anticipate this increase in travel will result in the need to retain and provide additional public access to coastal resources. Pogue and Lee (1999) indicate that tourism and recreational needs assessments are essential to determining how to meet the growing demand for public beach access. Determining the amount of scarce public funds to be spent on maintaining and acquiring public access locations to coastal resources is dependent upon economic benefits measured by individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for these resources. To estimate beach visitors’ economic value (or consumer surplus) from consuming services of additional provision of beach access points, double-bounded (DB) CVM questions were used to discover the amount visitors were willing to pay per day in excess of their actual trip costs associated with their beach experience. When the values are understood as net benefits accrued from their beach experiences, in general, average visitors are willing to pay $8.3 more above the current cost. Total net WTP at the population level was $58.3 million from development and maintenance of additional beach access points with parking spaces and other preferred facilities. As the new acquisition of beach access points is high-priced, the precise estimation of visitors’ benefits accrued from provision of beach access points is indispensable to more effective management decisions and policies.

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ESTIMATING TOURISTS' ECONOMIC VALUES OF PUBLIC BEACH ACCESS POINTS

As the population and per capita income of the United States continues to increase, opportunities for individuals to participate in travel and tourism related activities are likely to multiply as well. Coastal tourism destinations anticipate this increase in travel will result in the need to retain and provide additional public access to coastal resources. Pogue and Lee (1999) indicate that tourism and recreational needs assessments are essential to determining how to meet the growing demand for public beach access. Determining the amount of scarce public funds to be spent on maintaining and acquiring public access locations to coastal resources is dependent upon economic benefits measured by individuals’ willingness to pay (WTP) for these resources. To estimate beach visitors’ economic value (or consumer surplus) from consuming services of additional provision of beach access points, double-bounded (DB) CVM questions were used to discover the amount visitors were willing to pay per day in excess of their actual trip costs associated with their beach experience. When the values are understood as net benefits accrued from their beach experiences, in general, average visitors are willing to pay $8.3 more above the current cost. Total net WTP at the population level was $58.3 million from development and maintenance of additional beach access points with parking spaces and other preferred facilities. As the new acquisition of beach access points is high-priced, the precise estimation of visitors’ benefits accrued from provision of beach access points is indispensable to more effective management decisions and policies.