Tourists’ Willingness to Pay For Upstream Restoration and Conservation Measures
Kung’ub, James Biu
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Reserve in Kenya in particular motivated this study. Degradation of ecosystem services in the Mara basin is a cause of increasing pressure on the wildlife of the reserve. Wildlife tourists in the downstream area of the basin are beneficiaries of ecosystem services, particularly stream flow and water quality, provided in the upstream water catchment. This study aimed to estimate the willingness to pay (WTP) of wildlife tourists to cofinance conservation and restoration measures in the upstream of the Mara River Basin. The contingent valuation method was used with a valuation scenario framed in a payment for ecosystem services (PES) scheme. The relationship between WTP and several socio-economic variables was captured by an ordered logistic regression model. The mean WTP was estimated at US$41.6 (KES ¼ 4314.8), with a potential annual revenue of over $US 3.5 million alone from tourists staying inside the reserve. This study contributes to clarifying the feasibility of a PES scheme in the Mara River Basin complementing former studies concerned with the willingness to accept conservation and restoration measures in the upstream of the basin. The study closes an important knowledge gap and paves the way for an institutional solution enabling PES implementation in the basin.