Valuing local recreation in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Recreation Regional economics Australia Queensland Great Barrier Reef

This paper aims to identify local recreational use values for recreation in and adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park using the travel cost methodology, focusing on beach, island, and fishing, boating and sailing trips.

Of the 1051 responses to the survey, drawn randomly from households between Bundaberg and Cairns, 87% indicated they had taken a trip to one beach (“most preferred beach”), 73% undertook a trip to a second beach (“second most preferred beach”), 30% undertook a trip to an island, and 42% undertook a fishing/boating/sailing trip over the last two years. Probit models were used to represent the choice to take a recreation activity, while count data models (zero truncated negative binomial models) were used to model the zero truncated positive integer count data. Average values per person per trip per day were estimated at $35 for beaches, $331 for Islands, and $183 for fishing, boating and sailing activities (although the value for the latter group is not significant). Additional information about how variation within population groups may affect the demand for recreation activities has been gained by trailing the use of quantile regression models to estimate recreation values as well as the more standard count data models. The results are likely to represent the lower value of recreation activities because travel time and location investment costs have not been included in the analysis.

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