The nascent ecotourism market in Hong Kong has much potential for development which could benefit from research findings. This study evaluated the willingness-to-pay (WTP) for ecotourism activities in protected conservation areas and assessed the potential for ecotourism development in Hong Kong. Our questionnaire surveys gathered data from 960 general tourists at four popular tourism hotspots and 456 nature tourists at four ecotourism hotspots. Both groups were willing to pay more for ecotourism activities in the protected areas. Nature tourists would pay 40% more than general tourists and preferred high-quality products. The mean WTP of general tourists and nature tourists was, respectively, HK$167.3 and HK$223.6 (US$1.00 = HK$7.80) to participate in ecotourism activities, being 39% and 86% above the average price of a general tour (HK$120) offered by travel agents. Younger tourists, better education, and higher income raised the WTP for ecotours. The results were compared and contrasted with cognate overseas studies. The findings highlighted the need to improve service quality, pricing structure, and product differentiation. They allowed ecotourism operators to understand the market, formulate development strategies, and optimize the service to meet divergent and changing client expectations. The income generated by ecotourism services could enhance protected area management and conservation. Copyright © 2014 Informa UK Limited, an Informa Group Company.
|Journal||International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology|
|Early online date||Nov 2013|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
CitationCheung, L. T. O., & Jim, C. Y (2014). Expectations and willingness-to-pay for ecotourism services in Hong Kong’s conservation areas. International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology, 21(2), 149-159.
- Nature-based tourism
- Ecotourism development
- Ecotourism service
- Environmental valuation
- Protected area conservation
- Hong Kong