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Ecological Conservation, Ecotourism, and Sustainable Management: The Case of Penang National Park

1
Faculty of Environmental Studies, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2
Department of Management and Marketing, Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
3
Faculty of Economics and Management, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Damian C. Adams
Forests 2015, 6(7), 2345-2370; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6072345
Received: 30 March 2015 / Revised: 22 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
Penang National Park (PNP), as Malaysia’s smallest national park, is one of the few naturally forested areas left on Penang Island, in Peninsular Malaysia. The main objective was to analyse users’ preferences and willingness to pay to enhance improved management of PNP for the dual aim of conservation and recreation. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the formation of attitudes towards different aspects of PNP. Results showed that implementing enforcements with rules and regulations and imposing permits and charges on certain activities were the most influential variables of PNPs’ perceptions. The results of a random parameter logit model (RPL) demonstrated that visitors placed the highest value on having adequate information about PNP, and the second-highest value on improvements in the park’s ecological management. The welfare measure for improvement in management of PNP against status quo is estimated at about MYR 9. Results also showed that demand for better conservation and management of PNP is relatively price-inelastic. Simulations of the results showed, under a MYR10 admission fee, that improvement in management would have 96% of market share compared with status quo. This study concluded that visitor entrance fees can and ought to be introduced as a means of financing conservation initiatives and possibly preventing congestion. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation charge; nature based tourism; park visitor preferences; structural equation modeling; choice experiment; provision of information; willingness to pay conservation charge; nature based tourism; park visitor preferences; structural equation modeling; choice experiment; provision of information; willingness to pay
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Kaffashi, S.; Radam, A.; Shamsudin, M.N.; Yacob, M.R.; Nordin, N.H. Ecological Conservation, Ecotourism, and Sustainable Management: The Case of Penang National Park. Forests 2015, 6, 2345-2370.

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