Effects of Great Barrier Reef Degradation on Recreational Demand: A Contingent Behaviour Approach
Peter C. Roebeling, Marik Kragt, Arjan Ruijs
Coral Reef,Recreation,Contingent Behaviour Model,Count Data Models
Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Degradation of coral reefs may affect the number of tourists visiting the reef and, consequently, the economic sectors that rely on healthy reefs for their income generation. A Contingent Behaviour approach is used to estimate the effect of reef degradation on demand for recreational dive and snorkel trips, for a case study of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) in Australia. We assessed how reef degradation affects GBR tourism and to what extent reef-trip demand depends on the visitors’ socio-economic characteristics. A count data model is developed, and results indicate that an average visitor would undertake about 60% less reef trips per year given a combined 80%, 30% and 70% decrease in coral cover, coral diversity and fish diversity, respectively. This corresponds to a decrease in tourism expenditure for reef trips to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park of about A$ 136 million per year.