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The Journal of Socio-Economics
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/soceco
Determinants of willingness to pay for coastal zone quality improvement George Halkos a,∗ , Steriani Matsiori b
University of Thessaly, Department of Economics, Korai 43, Volos 38333, Greece University of Thessaly, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, School of Agricultural Sciences, Fytoko Str., Volos 38445, Creece
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Individuals’ decision to use a particular coastal beach is inﬂuenced by their preferences and perceptions as well as site’s characteristics. This study examines visitors’ attributes and desired site speciﬁc characteristics in order to determine the factors affecting willingness to pay (WTP) for an improvement quality (environment, water as well as recreation activities) program. A contingent valuation survey was carried out in order to evaluate the economic beneﬁts of improving coastal zone quality. The study area was coastal line of an area in Central Greece (Volos) where some beaches failures to meet the standards of the Blue Flag program. Our empirical ﬁndings suggest that the major variables affecting respondents’ willingness to pay were related to previous environmental behavior. The previous respondents’ participation in environmental protection programs by paying an amount was the most important determinate parameter for their WTP. Income, age, gender, coastal recreational activities and environmental quality of the site plays an important role to people’s WTP for quality improvement of coastal zone. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Article history: Received 15 November 2011 Received in revised form 3 March 2012 Accepted 9 April 2012 Keywords: Coastal zone CVM WTP Recreation Blue ﬂags
1. Introduction Coastal zones are unique ecosystems different from the oceanic or terrestrial and they are attractive and important areas for socioeconomic development. Costal ecosystems support life on our planet and affect the present and future well being of human societies. They also deliver a series of goods and services that are of beneﬁt to humans, including opportunities for recreation. People do not only use the coast like aquaculture but also enjoy it like coastal recreation and coastal zones are traditional hotspots for tourism and leisure activities (Jennings, 2004). Coastlines worldwide receive millions of visits every year for recreational activities such as swimming, surﬁng, wildlife viewing, beach-going etc. Sometimes the demand for coastal recreation can outstrip the capacity of the area and the impacts of recreation on natural conservation can create short (or long) term damage (Goodhead and Johnson, 1996). Recreation is an important component of social well-being (Driver et al., 1991). Coastal tourism and recreation have rapidly increased over the past decades becoming a primary contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of several countries attracting tourists who spend money in the local economy. Forty percent of the world population lives within 100 km of the coast, thus representing a pressure on coastal resources (Carter, 2002). Increased population growth and the shift of population to the coastline have created an increasing pressure on coastal assets
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +30 24210 74920; fax: +30 24210 74701. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (G. Halkos). 1053-5357/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socec.2012.04.010
all over the world. People’s decision for costal recreation is affected by environmental status of coastal zone. The demand for recreation activities is inﬂuenced by site characteristics and individuals’ preferences (Parsons et al., 2000; Roca et al., 2009). According to Paudel et al. (2011) sites’ environmental characteristics are important...