Kulczyk, S.; Woźniak, E.; Derek, M.; Kowalczyk, M., 2016, How much is the “wonder of nature” worth? The valuation of tourism in the Great Masurian Lakes using travel cost method, Ekonomia i Środowisko, V.4 Nr.59

Although natural values are crucial for most of outdoor activities, they are rarely included into tourism accounts. Balmford et al.1 estimate the global value of tourism in natural protected areas as USD 600 billion per year in direct expenditure. These calculations describe just a part of all nature based activities, that embrace both variety of natural settings and different tourism activities. Tourism & recreation, recognized as a type of cultural services, are frequently assessed and mapped ecosystem services (ES)2. This paper concerns mapping of ES monetary value of nature, which recently has become a hot research topic. We focus on the use value. The revealed preferences method has been chosen as this type is claimed to be more reliable. As far as tourism and recreation are concerned, Travel Cost Method (TCM) is widely applied. In Poland, TCM has been used for valuation of protected areas including Białowieski, Pieniński and Wielkopolski national parks. TCM is based on the assumption, that the consumption of non-marked good (visiting natural area) corresponds to buying some market goods. It assumes that users are rational in their decisions, and that a benefit from visiting natural area is always higher than a cost of the visit. Consequently, the total costs of visits to the area can be identified as its value.