The value of watchable wildlife: measuring the impacts of bear viewing in British Columbia

Swain, Peter (2006) The value of watchable wildlife: measuring the impacts of bear viewing in British Columbia. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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I examined the economic impact of commercial grizzly bear viewing in British Columbia and the potential impact it could have on the new land-use planning process. Surveys of operators described economic rents attributed to bear viewing and identified barriers to success and positive elements within the industry. I incorporated a tourist motivation questionnaire to describe the importance of bear viewing on choice to visit the region and province in order to accurately allocate visitor expenditures. Responses support the presence of a wildlife-viewer tourist typology.
Responses from bear viewing operators were not sufficient to enable a full industry economic analysis but were adequate for the creation of a set of parameters for future planning of grizzly bear viewing operations in the province, as is required by the landuse planning process.
A map of possible grizzly bear viewing locations on the coast was produced and compared to known biodiversity values and presence of old growth forest, with a discussion on the potential éommercial bear viewing has to preserve high value
landscape. Mean values of bear viewing operations indicated they were worth the equivalent of 1290 Hectares of Old-growth forest when measured on a simple financial basis. Legislative, operational and other barriers to success are discussed in the context of expanding the commercial grizzly bear viewing industry.

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