National Parks, such as Budderoo National Park, are often thought of purely in terms of their biological attributes and the recreation and tourism opportunities they provide. However, such parks can also have significant economic values and contribute considerably to regional economic activity. It is important that these economic consequences are recognized and quantified, where possible, so that decision makers recognize that the creation and management of national parks and other protected areas can provide net welfare benefits to society and have positive regional development benefits. Using the travel cost method, this study found that the economic value or consumer surplus of the recreation use of Minnamurra Rainforest Centre, Budderoo National Park, was approximately $28 to $44 per person, or $3.9M to $6.2M per year. On the conservative assumption that the annual level of these recreational use benefits remains constant over time, the present value of this benefit is in the order of $55M to $89M. Using input-output analysis, it was found that annual expenditure by the NPWS in managing the Minnamurra Rainforest Centre and expenditure by visitors to the rainforest centre contributed to the Kiama economy an estimated $2.2M to $4.2M in output or business turnover. $1.2M to $2.1M in value added including $0.8M to $1.4M in household income. Between 70 and 120 local jobs were generated. This represented between 1% and 2% of gross regional output, 1.2% to 2.2% of value added (or gross regional product). 1.3% to 2.4% of regional household income and 1.9% to 3.2% of regional employment. These results are compared to other similar studies of protected areas and some implications of this information for environmental policy development, park management and regional development planning are discussed.


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