Comparison of Contingent Valuation and Travel Cost Method in Estimating the Recreational Values of a Forest Park in Iran
Today, countries that focus more on economic development considers the tourism industry as a major contributor to it. As one of the major field of tourism, ecotourism is seriously promoted. Estimating monetary value of environmental resources of ecosystem function is a method for understanding if the investments for conservation, improvement or revival of the environmental resources earned social welfare improvements. In this study, The recreational value of Bamo National Park (BNP) was estimated and measured using two methods of Contingent Value Method (CVM) and Travel Cost Method (TCM). The variables, inhabitance, distance from park, first visit, number of visit, deontologist, education, travel cost, visitors income, museum existence and existence of animal species were the effective variables on willingness to pay (WTP) of visitors in 2015. Monthly expected willingness to pay of Consequentialist and Deontologist visitors was US$ 2.08 and 2.47, respectively. Finally, the recreational value of Bamu Park, which were estimated in two methods was equivalent US$ 43940.47 and 79959.25, respectively, in 2015. The travel cost method used the market price information and it revealed there is willingness to pay and 90.7% of visitors have zone inhabitance. Further, travel cost function was ideal for the econometrics theoretical aspect and preferred using the travel cost method instead of contingent value method to valuating the Bamo National Park.