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Estimation of optimal conservation fees for international park visitors in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

This paper estimates the visitation demand function for Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) in order to determine the conservation fee to charge international tourists to maximise park revenue. International tourists account for approximately 20 percent of total number of visitors to South African national parks, with domestic visitors making-up the remaining portion. Though small, the South African international tourism market is mature, and accounts for a disproportionately large share of net revenue. The random effects Tobit model is used to estimate visitation demand at the KTP and three other national parks. Using the estimated elasticities, the revenue-maximizing daily conservation fees are computed to be R1 131.94 (US$144.20) for KTP, R575.67 (US$73.33) for Kruger National Park (KNP), R722.95 (US$92.10) for Augrabies Falls National Park (AFNP) and R634.11 (US$80.78) for Pilanesberg National Park (PNP). Our findings therefore imply that the conservation fees of R180 (US$22.93) for KTP and KNP, R100 (US$12.74) for AFNP, and R45 (US$5.73) for PNP currently charged to international visitors are significantly lower. This indicates that international park fees could be raised.

Working paper 393
1 November 2013
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