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Abstract

The Maquiné Cavern is a natural resource system located at Cordisburgo, MG. It was built by nature in the last few thousand years. It’s a source of knowledge to researchers and income to local people. Therefore, it’s very important to preserve it. Visitors’ characteristics and econometric estimation of demand systems are key information which may be important to resource management decisions. Our objective was to find the economic value of the Maquiné Cavern. The analytical procedure was the Travel Cost method. Data were obtained by interviews. Results showed that most visitors have high educational levels and generally do not travel alone and visit Maquiné Cavern for the first time. The average willingness to pay for visits to the Maquiné Cavern, in each county, is R$ 80.654,81. The average willingness to pay, using individual data, is R$ 12.688,32. That estimated values do not show the real willingness to pay by individual for Maquiné Cavern visits since use values represent a small part of total economic value of this natural resource. However, estimated values an important to public policy and local conservation projects.

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