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A choice experiment and latent class analysis of visitor preferences and willingness to pay for certified ecotourism in Hawaiʻi

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Item Summary

Title: A choice experiment and latent class analysis of visitor preferences and willingness to pay for certified ecotourism in Hawaiʻi
Authors: Long, Ryan Carl
Keywords: tourism
Issue Date: Aug 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Abstract: Tourism is Hawaii's largest economic sector, ensuring that it is sustainable is of interest to policymakers. The Hawaii Ecotourism Association (HEA) is implementing an ecotour certification program and the demand for tours certified by a 3rd party auditor is not well understood. Little research on the actual value of ecologically sustainable tour certification to various types of consumers has been done. A survey was fielded as part of this research that involved 537 out-of-state visitors in a conjoint choice experiment for a guided hike. The experiment included three price levels, two different types of certifications, three different levels of native biodiversity, a waterfall view, and swimming under a waterfall for a half day hike. Latent class analysis was used to identify classes of consumers with similar preferences and estimate willingness to pay (WTP) premiums for the independent variables. The results show four distinct classes of consumers with significant preferences, with significant willingness to pay for certification among three of the four classes. Preferences for high native biodiversity along the hike were mixed, with some preferring medium or low biodiversity. A lower tour price was an important attribute for the largest class. Some classes show a significant preference for swimming in a waterfall and/or waterfall views. Residents of the US, especially, tend to be unclear about the meaning and/or importance of native biodiversity. Tours that safeguard ecosystem services appear to be marketable for certain consumer classes. Willingness to pay for sustainable tours exists and the need to educate visitors about environmental sustainability in Hawaii is clear.
Description: M.S. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:M.S. - Natural Resources and Environmental Managament

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