León Alejandro Cañez-Cota, Carlos Gabriel Borbón-Morales, Jesus Francisco Laborin-Alvarez, Hector Abelardo Gonzalez-Ocampo, Edgar Omar Rueda-Puente


Background: In protected natural areas (PNA), as units for the management and conservation of natural ecosystems, the challenge of economically valuing their environmental services sometimes makes it difficult to improve the design of their conservation plans and prevents a correct estimation of economic and social impacts on the well-being of present and future generations. Therefore, indirect estimation methods of the recreational value are used. Objective: Systematically analyze the advances in the estimation of the recreational value of the PNA, through the travel cost method (TCM). Methodology: A systematic literature review was carried out, based on SALSA (Search, AppraisaL, Synthesis, Analysis) and the PRISMA protocol (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses), in the following databases: Scopus, Science Direct, JSTOR, Springer Link, Dialnet, Google Scholar. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were used for studies carried out in PNA at a national and international level, in the period from 2010 to 2020. Main findings. Regarding the different approaches of the travel cost method, the individual approach provides more realistic estimates and has greater statistical support than the zonal approach; since it obtains the data directly from tourists through surveys, which allows estimating the real expenses they made during their trip. Implications: Derived from the complexity of estimating the value of an intangible, such as these areas of environmental services. The economic valuation exercise results in the estimation of the price of the service from the consumer's demand and not from its offer. In this sense, the TCM seeks to estimate the use value of the PNA, and not their market value as such. Hence, such assessment is a support tool for the managers of these sites, in order to: estimate adequate access fees; evaluate investments in the valued area; as well as expose specific approaches and techniques for data processing. Conclusions: The variables that influence the recreational value are: age, income level, distance traveled from the tourist's place of residence to the PNA, transportation costs, lodging, food costs, visits to other sites, perception of environmental quality, and willingness to pay (WTP) for the service. It is recommended to delve into intangible valuation techniques, so that society becomes aware of the benefit that PNA represent for a nation, and in this way public and private investments in this area are promoted; since in addition to improving the protection of biodiversity, it contributes to regional development.


Economic valuation; environmental services; recreational value; protected natural area; travel cost.

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Copyright (c) 2022 EDGAR OMAR RUEDA RUEDA PUENTE, Jesús Francisco Laborín Álvarez, Carlos Gabriel Borbón Morales, León Alejandro Cáñez Cota, Héctor Abelardo González Ocampo

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