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Abstract

The challenge of reconciling social, economic and ecological objectives in the pricing of park entry fees in developing countries often translates into the undervaluation of the recreational services and various adverse effects. This paper asks whether a more market-oriented pricing mechanism that reflects visitors’ preferences and willingness to pay would better contribute to a more sustainable provision of park amenities than an administered price in the face of government budget constraints. With information collected from 477 visitors, the results – based on a double-bounded contingent valuation – show a mean willingness to pay of more than three times the actual entry fees. An increase in the latter so as to match visitors’ willingness to pay, as well as various policies that effectively exploit the heterogeneity in individual valuations, could lead to an even greater increase in the generated revenues and definitely help meet the challenge of adequately pricing the park amenities.

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