Values for recreational beach quality in Oahu, Hawaii

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Pristine coastal environments are the key to Hawaii's worldwide fame and attraction to tourists, yet their economic value remains understudied. This article examines preferences for characteristics associated with beach recreation in Oahu, Hawaii, among residents and tourists. Consideration is given to sand quality, water quality, congestion levels, and swimming safety conditions in the context of a choice experiment. The choice experiment conveys attribute levels almost entirely through pictures, and results suggest that this novel portrayal is well understood by respondents. Excessive congestion and water quality are regarded as the most important beach attributes, specifically the avoidance of poor water quality in favor of a chance to experience excellent water quality. Some evidence suggests that significantly different willingness to pay (WTP) exists among residents and tourists on Oahu with poor water quality and excellent water quality being more important to tourists, while residents place greater value on avoiding excessive congestion.

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Marine Resource Economics

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