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Resources 2018, 7(4), 86; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources7040086

The Value of a Properly Maintained Hiking Trail Network and a Traditional Landscape for Mountain Recreation in the Dolomites

Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, University of Padova, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
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Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 29 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 December 2018 / Published: 12 December 2018
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Abstract

Alpine mountains represent one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, constituting approximately 3.1% of the global tourism market when considering the tourist flows coming from abroad. While there may be numerous factors that motivate tourists to choose rural areas, an important role is played by the opportunity to visit well-conserved landscapes and uncontaminated natural areas. The purpose of this study was to make a monetary valuation of the social benefits generated by the adoption of three measures of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) of Veneto (Italy) aimed specifically at enhancing the recreational usability of the mountain territory. In this regard, a discrete choice experiment (DCE) was applied for the economic valuation, and a qualitative survey was used to collect the opinion of respondents related to the measures to protect the meadows and mountain hiking trails. According to the DCE estimates, on average, the benefits due to the conservation of the existing meadows and pastures was equal to €851 per hectare, those due to the conservation and improvement of the trail network were €12,260 per km, and the benefits due to the recovery of the meadows and pastures of uncultivated and abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes amounted to €6852 per hectare. Comparing the estimates obtained with the expenditure incurred by the RDP to finance the three actions considered in our DCE, it can be seen that the benefits are considerably higher than the costs, especially with regard to the conservation of paths and the recovery of abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes. View Full-Text
Keywords: mountain; landscape; valuation; Common Agricultural Policy; discrete choice experiment; hiking; tourism; ecosystem services; choice experiment; Dolomites mountain; landscape; valuation; Common Agricultural Policy; discrete choice experiment; hiking; tourism; ecosystem services; choice experiment; Dolomites
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Tempesta, T.; Vecchiato, D. The Value of a Properly Maintained Hiking Trail Network and a Traditional Landscape for Mountain Recreation in the Dolomites. Resources 2018, 7, 86.

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