Environmental Management

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 145–154 | Cite as

Valuing Recreational Benefits of Coral Reefs: The Case of Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve, Kenya

  • Kevin P. Ransom
  • Stephen C. Mangi


A contingent valuation study was conducted with adult Kenyan citizens and foreign tourists to estimate the value of recreational benefits arising from coral reefs at Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve (MMNPR), and to assess the implications for local reef management. Citizen and foreign visitors to MMNPR were willing to pay an extra $2.2 (median = $1.6) and $8 (median = $6.7) per visit respectively, in addition to current park entrance fees, to support reef quality improvements. By aggregating visitors’ willingness to pay bids over the number of visitors to MMNPR in 2006–2007 the value of benefits was estimated at $346,733, which was more than twice the total annual operational expenditure of $152,383 for MMNPR. The findings indicate that annual revenues from citizen and foreign visitors may be increased by 60% to $261,932 through the implementation of proposed higher park fees of $3.10 for citizens and $15 for foreign visitors. However, any fee increase would serve to intensify concerns among citizens that only relatively affluent Kenyans can afford to visit MMNPR. Park managers need to demonstrate that the extra revenue would be used to fund the proposed conservation activities. This valuation study demonstrates that visitors are prepared to pay higher user fees for access to the marine protected area revealing considerable untapped resource to finance reef quality improvements.


Contingent valuation Marine protected areas Reef management Tourism User fees Willingness to pay 



This research was conducted as part of the European Masters in Water and Coastal Management and supported by the Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning (MarBEF) Network of Excellence which is funded by the European Community. We would like to express our gratitude to Arthur Tuda, Warden, Kenya Wildlife Service, Mombasa for permission to conduct this study in Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve. We thank Dr David Obura and Innocent Wanyonyi at CORDIO East Africa, Mombasa for logistical support; Buccaneer Diving and the Boat Owners Association, Mombasa for their assistance with field data collection; and all respondents for their participation in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth, Ocean and Environmental SciencesUniversity of PlymouthPlymouthUK
  2. 2.Plymouth Marine LaboratoryPlymouthUK

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