JOURNAL OF NATURAL RESOURCES ›› 2006, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (3): 489-499.doi: 10.11849/zrzyxb.2006.03.020

• Special Column:Celebration of the 70th Anniversary of IGSNRR, CAS • Previous Articles    

Some Problems on the Application of Travel Cost Method in China

ZHOU Hui-bin, ZUO Dan-ping   

  1. Commercial College of Central-South University of Forestry & Technology,Changsha 410004,China
  • Received:2005-09-26 Revised:2005-12-05 Online:2006-06-25 Published:2006-06-25

Abstract: Travel cost method(TCM) determines the value of recreational function based on inferring indirectly demand curve of recreation of tourism destination itself via travel cost,namely,the curve of price of destination and the number of tourists.Since the 1990's,travel cost method has been introduced and applied in China and case studies increased rapidly in recent years.All the case studies adopted zonal travel cost method,and no individual travel cost method(ITCM) and random utility model(RUM) have been used so far.This paper analyses and valuates 11 typical case studies with zonal travel cost method.Most case studies of TCM in China can not make clear the relationship between travel cost and the price of destination itself,arguing that the travel cost is the same as the entrance price.Therefore their demand curve of recreation is the model of relationship between travel cost and the number of tourists,but not demand curve of recreation of the price and the number of tourists of destination itself.This paper gives a detailed explanation of the principle and operating approach of zonal travel cost method,and re-computes the recreational value of Dalinor National Nature Reserve to be 92.21 million yuan per year with the data from the article written by Qiao Guanhua et al.,nearly 10 times that of Qiao's result,which is 9.37 million yuan per year.At the same time,this paper discusses some questions such as the structure of travel cost.It argues that there are some problems in the research method when Qiao et al.inferred the demand curve of recreation.They calculated directly the travel cost and value of time as the value of recreational function.This approach is not accord with the basic principle of TCM and the economic theory of public goods without(lower) marketed price.The present study gives a result of 135.81 million yuan per year as the recreational value of the reserve after adjusting the data from Qiao's paper.It points out that most of the researchers in China who used TCM lacked the correlative economic theoretical basis and failed to grasp the core technology of TCM.Most of the case studies only copied the existing case studies.The reliability of conclusion of TCM in China is low,and further efforts must be made in order to improve future research level.

Key words: environmental economics, recreational value, zonal TCM, experience curve of re-creation, demand curve of recreation, consumer surplus