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Willingness to pay for electric boats in a protected area in Italy: A sustainable tourism perspective

Bigerna, Simona, Micheli, Silvia, Polinori, Paolo
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.224 pp. 603-613
boating, carbon dioxide, conservation areas, contingent valuation, ecotourism, education, environmental degradation, greenhouse gas emissions, issues and policy, lakes, land use, models, prices, questionnaires, regional parks, tourists, uncertainty, willingness to pay, Italy
The relationship between tourism development and environmental degradation is one of the policy agenda for sustainable tourism. Tourism in protected areas is a complex phenomenon, which brings both positive and negative effects on the environment and local communities. The transition toward forms of sustainable mobility, such as electric boats, allows to reconcile tourist activities with preservation of protected areas, strengthening the links between land use and transport. The aim of this paper has been the investigation tourists’ preferences to elicit their willingness to pay for the introduction of electric boat fleet in the Regional Park of Trasimeno Lake, a protected area in Italy, in order to reduce CO2 emissions. Data were collected by means of questionnaires. The impact of uncertainty on contingent valuation responses using three different approaches has been used. Also the effects of pricing CO2 emissions from boating activities have been investigated. The research results show that variables such as sex, age and visits’ duration of stay have an impact on the respondents’ willingness to pay and the related uncertainty. Considering two electrification options of the fleet, simulation results indicate that both price premiums and a subsidy policy are needed for electric boats deployment. This paper showed the need for public and private authorities to implement instruments including an important role for education to achieve a new tourism model based on natural features and sustainability.