Sunday, October 24, 2010

The double-edged sword of tourism

People come to see the natural resources, economy grows, external effects are not internalized, natural resource suffers. Read a recent example in the news here. What kinds of policies might be useful to remedy these types of situations? What types of research questions should be answered first? Are economic growth and nature-based tourism compatible?


Onika E. said...

It's really unfortunate to see what is happening in the Maldives, the very natural resource that has been propelling their tourism industry is being threatened by the actual growth of the industry. It is truly a two-edged sword!! I believe that in a situation like this, the policies that would be required may need to take on a command and control approach to strictly limit the number of tour boats entering the MPA as well as the number of visitors allowed per trip. To internalize the negative externality i believe taxes can be effective. For example tour operator taxes, possibly a tax per trip. User fees can also be helpful, where the income generated can be used for the maintenance of the MPA.
The research that would be necessary though is: how much are individuals willing to pay to enter the park?; what is the extent of the damage caused and can it be quantified in terms of dollars and cents (valuation)?; what is the cost of abatement?; who are the individuals or groups majorly responsible?
Can nature-based tourism and economic growth be compatible? I believe so, the problem is however, as was mentioned in the article, strict enforcement of policies. Law and policies may exist as in the case of Maldives, but if there is no proper management strategy and enforcement then the "double-edged sword" may just take its final thrust, causing the destruction of the resource and subsequently the economy...

Miguel, M. said...

I believe that user fees should be established and if they are already in place, they should be increased. Due to the crowding issue it is clear that people value the resource, so they should be will to pay (due to an apparent demand for resource use). Increase the users fees will bring down this demand and result in less crowding.

Economic growth and resource based tourism can be compatible if MPA’s are managed properly. A combination of strategies including command and control,zoning and price regulation can help solve these problems.