A study on the economic valuation and management of recreation at Mount Olympus National Park, Greece
The provision of outdoor recreation in a modern society has become an increasingly demanding and controversial undertaking. To provide an effective recreational strategy it is necessary to identify the needs of the people in order to provide intelligent planning to satisfy their requirements. When recreational pressures are directed towards protected areas such as National Parks, this task becomes more difficult and complex owing to the diverse and conflicting functions that these resources have to support. To provide both conservation and recreational opportunities planning should evaluate both the benefits and the conflicts that these uses generate as any developments take place. This study focuses on the evaluation of the recreational use of Mount Olympus National Park. Its aim was to incorporate these findings into the Master Plan for the management of the area. The data provided from on-site surveys in the area permitted the description of the visitor socio-economic characteristics and their trip patterns. Visitor attitudes both to the recreational opportunities provided in the area and to the proposals for the improvement of recreation provision in it were also identified. The recreational use of Mount Olympus was then evaluated by applying both the Travel-Cost and the Contingent Valuation methods on the survey data. This provided a method for checking the validity of the results. The Travel-Cost method produced values ranging between 65,002,000 and 74,599,000 GDrs for 1990 and 42,183,750 and 65,081,100 GDrs for 1992 depending on the functional form used for the development of the model. On the other hand the Contingent Valuation method produced a value of 30,311,000 GDrs for 1990 and of 53,830,350 GDrs (area in its present condition) and of 54,162,150 GDrs (area after the provision of more facilities) for 1992. Finally the study highlighted the importance and the potential use of the available economic information to assist in the development of a planning system for the design and the provision of recreation. Some limitations in the Mount Olympus Master Plan were identified and a proposal for the incorporation of the new information into the recreational aspects of Mount Olympus in a reformulated Master Plan was proposed.