Application of a travel cost demand model to recreation analysis in New Zealand : an evaluation of Lake Tutira : a thesis ... for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in Natural Resource Economics at Massey University
The concept of recreation analysis was investigated with particular emphasis on the Travel Cost Method as a technique for valuing non-market recreation sites. A survey was carried out of visitors to Lake Tutira to obtain information on visitation behaviour and travel costs relating to the recreation experience. The data received in this survey was used within a Travel Cost framework in two forms; the individual observations approach, and the aggregated data approach. The individual observations approach was eventually rejected as being unworkable using the survey information from Lake Tutira and the analysis was restricted to the aggregated data approach. Using the Travel Cost Method a prediction equation was calculated and used to model visitation behaviour as a result of variations in travel cost. This demand model was then applied to the second stage of the Travel Cost Method to derive a demand curve for Lake Tutira. A consumers' surplus figure was calculated from the demand curve and presented as an approximate monetary value of Lake Tutira as a recreational amenity. The recreational value of Lake Tutira was included in a partial economic analysis of a proposed lake restoration scheme to indicate its economic viability. The application of the recreational value (consumers' surplus) was discussed in relation to public sector decision making. The major result of the study was that the Travel Cost Method is a successful and acceptable technique for valuing recreation sites in New Zealand.