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The Complementary Effect of National Park Fee Increases on Visitor Spending in Gateway Communities

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In 2017, the US National Park Service faced a nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog. To address this backlog, they announced plans to increase entrance fees in 17 of the most visited parks. As fees are a component of the travel cost, we consider price change effects on demand for park entry. Demand for the 17 parks is shown to be inelastic. Recognizing that spending in gateway communities is complementary to national park visitation, we use Yellowstone National Park as a case study on entrance fee increase effects on gateway communities. We estimate a $3.4 million annual loss in gateway community spending by visitors as a result of reduced visitation by those visitors who choose not to purchase a 7-day pass. Acknowledging the diminishing effect of the fee increase on travel costs, we further explore alternative means of structuring fees based on examples of other countries.
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Keywords: ECONOMIC CONTRIBUTION; ELASTICITY; ENTRANCE FEES; NATIONAL PARKS; PROTECTED AREAS; TRAVEL COST

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 14, 2018

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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