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Assessing Tourists' Preferences for Recreational and Environmental Management Programs Central to the Sustainable Development of a Tourism Area in the Dominican Republic


The main goals of this paper are to (1) highlight the need for sustainable development as a means to conserve natural resources and the environment, which often represent the basis for tourism development, (2) illustrate the importance of assessing tourists' preferences when designing programs and policies central to the sustainable development of a tourism area, and (3) study tourists' interests in sustainable development. With these goals in mind, 180 tourists from Europe, Latin America, and North America were interviewed as they were leaving the resort region of Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. The main factors that they considered when deciding where to go on a beach vacation were evaluated, as well as their preferences regarding four programs designed to improve recreational and environmental management of the area. Preferences by tourists were elicited both in monetary and non-monetary terms. This paper reports the non-monetary analysis of the data. The results indicate that clean ocean water and beaches, quality of services, and price are the most important factors considered by the respondents before deciding to come to Punta Cana. It was not possible to obtain reliable responses on how tourists perceived the four programs contributing to the sustainable development of Punta Cana. Nevertheless, they expressed high interest and willingness to pay for two of these programs: the outdoor aquarium and the Water Management Program. The results reported in this paper show how important it is to elicit tourists' preferences of programs central to the sustainable development of tourism areas since these preferences can drive managers' development decisions in more sustainable directions.

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Correspondence to James P. Lassoie.

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Mercado, L., Lassoie, J.P. Assessing Tourists' Preferences for Recreational and Environmental Management Programs Central to the Sustainable Development of a Tourism Area in the Dominican Republic. Environment, Development and Sustainability 4, 253–278 (2002).

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  • botanical garden
  • Caribbean region
  • recreational services
  • responsible management
  • sustainable development
  • sustainable tourism
  • tourists' preferences
  • water management