The recreational benefits of coral reefs: a case study of Pulau Payar Marine Park, Kedah, Malaysia
- Coral reefs are increasingly recognized as valuable assets in terms of supporting local economies, maintaining national heritage and conserving global biodiversity. Nevertheless, coral reefs are under pressure from a number of threats. In response, resources are being committed to address and minimize the impacts of these pressures on the reefs. Economic valuation studies highlight the monetary values of coral reefs and help to reflect the true value of the related environmental attributes. In so doing they provide important information about sustainable resource use and management. A case study based on Pulau Payar Marine Park, Kedah, Malaysia, estimated the recreational benefits of the coral reefs at that location. It involved a contingent valuation (CV) study using both face-to-face interviews and self-administrative questionnaires. The willingness to pay (WTP) to access the marine park of visitors to marine park was elicited. In practice, the respondents were asked whether or not they would visit the marine park if an entry fee were charged and what their WTP would be in terms of an entry fee. The study found that 91 per cent of respondents would accept an entrance fee. The average WTP was estimated at RM$16.00 (US$4.20). In terms of the tourist numbers recorded during the year of the study, this estimate reflects a potential recreational value of the reefs in the park in the order of RM$1.48 million (US$390,000) per year. This estimate provides an important indication as to the value of recreational benefits from the coral reefs in Pulau Payar Marine Park.
- Miscellaneous themes