Valuation of ecotourism resources using a contingent valuation method: The case of the Korean DMZ
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The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which has been untouched by human interference for the last half century, has become a sanctuary for rare species of animals and plants. Conflicts concerning development between communities and environmentalists are arising. Estimates of the preservation value of the DMZ are necessary for society to properly address these issues. Such estimates will help policy-makers address issues of conservation management, sustainable development, and public financial support. Given this situation, the objectives are two-fold. The primary objective of this study is to obtain estimates of the preservation value of the Korean DMZ and Civilian Control Zone (CCZ). A secondary objective is to examine the potential for hypothetic bias in respondents' answers in a contingent valuation method framework. Findings suggest hypothetical bias is present in the survey. Including a real payment vehicle may reduce hypothetical bias in eliciting willingness-to-pay (WTP). Best estimates are the mean WTP is US $ 16.74 per capita. Aggregate preservation value lies between US $264 and $602million. These findings indicate that conservation of the DMZ and CCZ is not only important for moral and ecological reasons, but the DMZ and CCZ are of considerable economic value to South Koreans. Any development unfriendly to the environment will degrade the quality of the ecosystem of the DMZ, as well as, decrease its economic value. 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Lee, Choong–Ki||W. Mjelde, James