ECONOMIC VALUES OF DOLPHIN EXCURSION IN HAWAII: A STATED CHOICE ANALYSIS
Authors: Wuyang Hu et al., Marine Resources Economics, Volume 24, pp 61-76
Publishers: MRE Foundation, Inc.
There is a general perception that the number of boats and tour companies involved in dolphin excursions in Hawaii are increasing very quickly. The author wanted to know how consumers value various services offered by the dolphin tour operators and the implications for management policy. The objective of the study was therefore to analyze individual’s choice behavior and estimate the implied economic values associated with dolphin excursions in Hawaii. The method used was a stated choice survey. This was a choice experiment where respondents could express their willingness to pay based on various profiles for excursion trips. Data were collected from potential customers of dolphin excursions rather than operators or directly from the market. Some of the more interesting results were:
- 58% of visitors prefer sailing catamarans.
- 42 % prefer motor boats.
- 80% prefer guaranteed packages.
- Older individuals (65+ years old) were willing to pay $50 more for a sailing catamaran rather than a zodiac or another small vessels. In addition, at 65 years old, swimming with dolphins became valueless to both residents and visitors compared to viewing from the boat.
- Swimming with dolphins was attractive to younger people (25 years old) in general.
- Visitors were willing to pay $41 more to swim with dolphins compared to viewing alone.