Assessment of recreational services of natural landscapes in third world tropics using travel cost method
Travel cost method (TCM) is a widely used tool for the evaluation of the recreational value of natural landscapes with potential for promoting nature-based tourism. Consumers’ surplus can be used to increase the cost of visit for maintaining high-value low-volume tourism, especially in the fragile and culturally and ecologically vulnerable areas. This chapter presents the recreational value of three biodiversity rich and culturally significant land-scape of India. In this study, we used TCM to derive the economic value of the nature-based tourism at Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (NDBR), Corbett National Park (CNP) and Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP). Individual approach was used to collect the information at both KLNP and CNP while zonal approach was used at NDBR. Personal interviews with tourists were conducted at all the selected sites. NDBR, CNP, and KLNP generate huge recreational value but most of the revenue generated either goes to the strongest players in the area or outsiders who can afford to provide better facilities to the visitors. The leakage of the tourism benefits due to forgone consumers’ surplus, leads to the loss of benefit accrued by the local communities resulting inadequate economic capital to invest in the tourism industry. Nature-based recreation and tourism is publicized as a sustainable way to preserve nature while providing economic benefits to the local communities. These additional benefits provide opportunity for generating alternative livelihood for local communities and invest in improved basic facilities to promote sustainable tourism.