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Assessing tourists' preferences for recreational and environmental management programs central to the sustainable development of a tourism area in the Dominican Republic

Assessing tourists' preferences for recreational and environmental management programs central to the sustainable development of a tourism area in the Dominican Republic

Environment, Development and Sustainability 4(3): 253-278

The main goals of this paper are to: highlight the need for sustainable development as a means to conserve natural resources and the environment, which often represent the basis for tourism development; illustrate the importance of assessing tourists' preferences when designing programmes and policies central to the sustainable development of a tourism area; and study tourists' interests in sustainable development. 180 tourists from Europe, Latin America, and North America were interviewed as they were leaving the resort region of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic during the period 11-24 March 2000. The main factors that they considered when deciding where to go on a beach holiday were evaluated, as well as their preferences regarding 4 programmes designed to improve recreational and environmental management of the area. Preferences by tourists were elicited both in monetary and non-monetary terms. This paper reports the non-monetary analysis of the data. The results indicate that clean ocean water and beaches, quality of services, and price are the most important factors considered by the respondents before deciding to come to Punta Cana. It was not possible to obtain reliable responses on how tourists perceived the 4 programmes contributing to the sustainable development of Punta Cana. Nevertheless, they expressed high interest and willingness to pay for 2 of these programmes: the outdoor aquarium and the Water Management Program. The results reported in this paper show how important it is to elicit tourists' preferences of programmes central to the sustainable development of tourism areas since these preferences can drive managers' development decisions in more sustainable directions.

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Accession: 003653011

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DOI: 10.1023/a:1021188701673

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