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This study measures the value of ecotourism at a tropical rain-forest site in Costa Rica using the travel cost method. By observing travel behavior, the study reveals that Costa Rican visitors are willing to pay considerably for the experience of visiting the site. The present value of the site per hectare, based on domestic and foreign use alone, is found to be 1 - 2 magnitudes greater than the purchase price currently paid by the reserve for acquisition of new lands. This estimate does not include other potential preservation values such as harvesting of commodities (fruit, latex, etc.), protection of watersheds, or protection of wildlife habitat and rare species.
Ambio © 1991 Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences