This study is aimed to estimate the total recreational value of water improvement in Lake Wuliangsuhai, Inner Mongolia, China. In our study, we combine travel cost method (TCM) and contingent valuation method (CVM) to fill the gap where the use value of the future lake after restoration doesn’t exist. In China, both TCM and CVM are quite new and not widely applied like those in USA and European countries. And our study is the first case to apply non-market valuation to the lake restoration program in a wild lake in north China.
The result of the study will be used in the final cost and benefit analysis. Together with fishing, aquiculture and reed cutting, etc, recreational value of the lake is as one part of the benefits of indirect use of the lake. By comparing the benefit of the indirect lake water use and the cost of different lake restoration measurements the most effective and sustainable restoration plan will be given in the end and will be carried out by local government in the near future.The result of this study is based on the on-site sampling from 25th August to 12th September among 525 lake visitors. Questions related to both TCM and CVM were presented to the respondents.
(1) Field work summary
-More than 80% respondents came from Inner Mongolia. At about 50% respondents among lake visitors has bachelor degree and the largest age group among these respondents is among 30 -40 years old.
-About 60% lake visitors agree that water quality is poor and has disagreeable smell while approximately same percentage of visitors still think that the surrounding wild area of the lake is well preserved.
- “Boat sightseeing” and “Walking and enjoying the lake along the lake shore” are the most two popular activities. Although most respondents express that they enjoy bird watching, only less than 10% of total time was spend on Bird Island in the lake to especially watch birds. This may due to the fact that the Bird Island hasn’t been fully developed and finishing constructing yet.Still, most respondents went to the Bird and Fish Museum, the total time spent there is less very little.
-More than half of the lake visitors have been to the lake before. And more times respondents had been to the lake the more WTP they offered for the lake restoration which is consistent with the result of other CV study.
- More than 30% respondents go to the lake as a side trip or one of their package trips. And most respondents stay the lake for only one day.
- The largest proportion of respondents has the monthly household income 2000-3000 yuan.
(2) Results summary
-Total recreational value of Lake Wuliangsuhai with present condition is from 10.5 million yuan (US$1.2 million) to 21.7 million yuan (US$2.6 million)
-WTP for the improved lake is from US$ 0.17 million (1.4 million yuan) with mean WTP at about 59.52 yuan(US$7.17). And only 6.29% of the respondents’ WTP is zero. The mean WTP is more interesting than the absolute total value of WTP since we can scale up the WTP for the lake improvement by different definition of visitors. The entire amount will be huge if we put the potential visitors to the lake as whole population in China.
-Monthly household income is negatively related with the visit rate which implies that when income increases, respondents will be more likely to visit other lake with better condition rather than Lake Wuliangsuhai with present condition. While the higher income of respondents the larger amount of WTP for the lake improvement.
- 72.76% of respondents express the environment concerning and their WTP for the lake restoration is higher than those who don’t.
-The maximum price that locals still want to visit Lake Wuliangsuhai is 734.6 yuan (US$88.5) which means they will not visit the lake if the price of the trip is too high.
- The WTP level that maximizes the total annual income is around US$5.3 (44 yuan) and the maximum total annual income from boating and entrance is about US$111009 (921377yuan).