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User Fee System for Marine Ecotourism: The Tubbataha Reef Experience

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Abstract:

The Tubbataha Reefs Natural Marine Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Sulu Sea, Philippines, is an offshore marine protected area well known throughout the scuba diving community for its coral reefs and marine diversity. To address the perennial problem of park financing, the Tubbataha Management Board developed a fee collection and permit system in cooperation with the diving community. A willingness-to-pay survey conducted among divers in 1999 showed that the average diver was willing to pay U.S.$41 per visit. Using these results, a two-tiered pricing scheme was developed for foreign and local divers. After two years of fee collection, the total fee collected amounted to U.S.$65,000, which covered 28% of the annual recurring costs and nearly 41% of the core costs to protect Tubbataha. The experience shows the contribution of willingness-to-pay surveys in instituting user fees for long-term sustainable financing.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08920750490247463

Affiliations: World Wide Fund for Nature--Philippines, Quezon City, Philippines

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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