The central question addressed in this paper is whether tourists visiting a protected area are willing to pay more and what are the reasons behind such motives, so as to enhance tourism revenue in protected areas. Studies have concluded that most parks are charging fees far below what visitors are willing to pay, and thus suggest that parks charges for entrance, activities, and facilities should be increased accordingly to conform to the user-pay scheme. It has been widely recognized that reasons for willingness to pay more differ from one individual or group from another, and that the most noticeable factors are related to the various perceptions held by an individual/group of what a protected area should be and what it offers, as well as the roles it plays. These perceptions are captured within the nexus of visitor backgrounds. For the purposes of this paper, the authors focus on foreign visitors. How pre-existing perceptions of a protected area “is supposed to be” influence willingness to pay among foreign visitors to protected areas is discussed by reference to the case of Kinabalu Park in Malaysia.

Les questions centrales posées par cet article traitent de la disposition des touristes à payer plus pour visiter une région protégée ainsi que les raisons derrière leurs motifs, de manière à pouvoir augmenter les revenus touristiques dans ces espaces. Des études ont conclu que la plupart des parcs exigent un prix d'entrée bien inférieur à ce que les visiteurs sont prêts à payer et suggèrent alors que les prix soient augmentés de manière à correspondre au coût réel du service. Il est admis que les raisons qui mènent les individus et les groupes à payer plus diffèrent ; les variables explicatives sont liées aux différentes perceptions qu'ils ont de ce qu'une région protégée devrait être et offrir, et les rôles qu'elle devrait jouer. Ces perceptions sont en relation avec des histoires individuelles des visiteurs. Pour cet article, l'auteur s'appuie sur le cas des visiteurs étrangers du Parc Kinabalu en Malaisie pour saisir l'influence du facteur de la perception préexistante sur la disposition à payer.

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