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Abstract

Aside from its biodiversity conservation and fishery sustainability purposes, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) opened tourism and recreational opportunities which brought economic benefits of the stakeholders. To contribute to the recreational value information for policy implications towards sustainable management and rural transformation, this study calculated the welfare estimates of local visitors in Palaui Island Protected Landscape and Seascape (PIPLS) located in northern Philippines. The travel cost method (TCM) was used to evaluate the economic use values of the PIPLS on its present condition using actual expenses data of the tourists and the contingent behavior (CB) was used to estimate the change in welfare associated with the improved conditions upon payment of an additional access fee for the cost of community-based patrolling and monitoring. Data for the study were collected on-site over the 3-month period from April 1 to June 30, 2016 gathering a total of 618 completed questionnaires which were used in the analysis. Results confirmed that tourists take lesser recreational trips as cost of travel increases. Visitors who enjoyed activities with marine resources (e.g. swimming, snorkelling, island hopping), more educated and affluent tend to visit more. The consumer surplus per tourist, which indicates welfare estimates, is ₱1,401.15 (US$30.12) at its present condition and ₱10,080.65 (US$216.69) for its improved state. The result demonstrates that the tourists have a high value for the opportunity to visit the PIPLS especially in its enriched settings. The research showed high monetary values attached to the recreational services in the area and provide justification for its conservation and development of sustainable recreational activities for the economic benefit of the local residents.

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