ArticlePDF Available

Economic Contributions of Visitor Spending in Ocean Recreation in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Understanding the economic value of marine sanctuaries such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) is important to justify public and private investments and to provide information to support management activities and understand their role in the nation’s blue economy. Very few studies have employed economic contribution analysis in examining economic value, even though it is more useful in influencing the behaviors of decision makers. This study therefore employs such a methodology to determine the economic importance of tourism and visitor spending in the sanctuary to Monroe County, Florida’s economy. Visitors who came to the area for ocean recreation and tourism spent a total of USD 1.7 billion, which translates to a contribution of 19,688 total jobs, USD 752 million in total labor income, USD 1.2 billion in total value added, and USD 2 billion in total output to the region. With regard to the spending of snorkelers and divers only, total spending is about USD 1.07 billion, contributing about 12,441 total jobs, USD 466 million in total labor income, USD 767 million in total value added, and USD 1.2 billion in total output. Ocean recreation is therefore an important economic driver in the region and efforts should be directed at protecting the diverse and sensitive ecosystem of the sanctuary.
Content may be subject to copyright.


Citation: Gazal, K.; Andrew, R.;
Burns, R. Economic Contributions of
Visitor Spending in Ocean Recreation
in the Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary. Water 2022,14, 198.
https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020198
Academic Editor: Oz Sahin
Received: 26 October 2021
Accepted: 7 January 2022
Published: 11 January 2022
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral
with regard to jurisdictional claims in
published maps and institutional affil-
iations.
Copyright: © 2022 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
conditions of the Creative Commons
Attribution (CC BY) license (https://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/
4.0/).
water
Article
Economic Contributions of Visitor Spending in Ocean
Recreation in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Kathryn Gazal *, Ross Andrew and Robert Burns
School of Natural Resources, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA;
Ross.Andrew@mail.wvu.edu (R.A.); Robert.Burns@mail.wvu.edu (R.B.)
*Correspondence: Kathryn.Arano@mail.wvu.edu; Tel.: +1-304-293-5321
Abstract:
Understanding the economic value of marine sanctuaries such as the Florida Keys National
Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) is important to justify public and private investments and to provide
information to support management activities and understand their role in the nation’s blue economy.
Very few studies have employed economic contribution analysis in examining economic value, even
though it is more useful in influencing the behaviors of decision makers. This study therefore employs
such a methodology to determine the economic importance of tourism and visitor spending in the
sanctuary to Monroe County, Florida’s economy. Visitors who came to the area for ocean recreation
and tourism spent a total of USD 1.7 billion, which translates to a contribution of 19,688 total jobs,
USD 752 million in total labor income, USD 1.2 billion in total value added, and USD 2 billion in total
output to the region. With regard to the spending of snorkelers and divers only, total spending is
about USD 1.07 billion, contributing about 12,441 total jobs, USD 466 million in total labor income,
USD 767 million in total value added, and USD 1.2 billion in total output. Ocean recreation is therefore
an important economic driver in the region and efforts should be directed at protecting the diverse
and sensitive ecosystem of the sanctuary.
Keywords:
economic contribution analysis; input–output modeling; marine sanctuaries; visitor
spending
1. Introduction
There has been growing interest in quantifying the ocean economy due to its role
in local, national, and international economies. It has been suggested that ocean-based
industries have potential contributions to the global economy in terms of value added and
employment, contributing more than double to global value added or reaching over USD
3 trillion between 2010 and 2030 [
1
]. In another study, the annual gross marine product
value based on the value of the oceans’ total assets globally was estimated to be at least
USD 2.5 trillion per year [
2
]. This includes direct output of the ocean from marine fisheries
and the coastal ecosystem, tourism, carbon absorption, and marine trade and transport.
However, sustainable and healthy oceans and marine resources are needed for a vibrant
ocean economy. Funds or “ocean finance” are therefore needed for investing in governance
and initiatives that promote sustainable management of the ocean and its resources [
3
].
However, current investments in these areas are inadequate due to insufficient public
and private funding. For example, funding for effective management of MPAs in the
Mediterranean is about USD 776 million short per year [
4
]. Furthermore, only 2.3% of
declared MPAs globally receive adequate funding to be fully protected [
5
]. The overall
contribution of MPAs to the ocean economy needs to be understood and measured more
comprehensively than it currently is to receive appropriate and adequate funds [3].
In the United States (U.S.), national marine sanctuaries are a category of MPAs that
were specifically established to protect unique and nationally significant marine resources.
Marine sanctuaries are part of a larger network called the National Marine Sanctuary Sys-
tem consisting of fifteen national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments
Water 2022,14, 198. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14020198 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/water
Water 2022,14, 198 2 of 14
and encompassing more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters [
6
].
Conservation, research and monitoring, and educational and outreach efforts are being
carried out in the system by working with diverse partners and stakeholders. Through
the National Marine Sanctuaries Act, these areas are being protected not only to preserve
the scenic beauty, biodiversity, and historical connections that they provide, but also for
their role in promoting economic development in local economies through recreation and
tourism. Just like the economic significance of MPAs globally, these national marine sanctu-
aries in the U.S. hold potential to generate billions of dollars in value for local economies
across many sectors (e.g., tourism, research, diving, etc.) each year, contributing to the
region and the nation’s ocean economy.
Given the ecological and economic importance of marine sanctuaries, these areas
must be protected and managed, but such efforts require considerable investments by both
federal and local governments, local partners, and stakeholders. Therefore, understanding
the economic value of marine sanctuaries is not only important to justify public and private
investments and to provide information to support management activities [
7
], but under-
standing their overall contribution to the ocean economy is important to secure adequate
funding for their sustainable management. In addition, marine sanctuary resources are
economic resources that are scarce and have competing uses; thus, determining value can
inform policy makers and other management decision makers of the tradeoffs of alternative
uses or economic importance of different choices [
8
]. There are different methods available
to determine the value of natural and environmental resources (e.g., marine sanctuaries),
including cost–benefit analysis (CBA), economic impact analysis/contribution analysis,
cost-effectiveness analysis, and natural resource damage assessment. The approach chosen
depends on “what decision makers want to know, the kind of analysis a statute might call
for, and just what gains and losses can be measured” [
9
]. If the interest is determining total
societal values, CBA analysis is usually used. However, if the interest is determining the
economic impact to demonstrate a financial contribution to the local community, economic
impact/contribution analysis is more appropriate [
10
]. Most studies related to coastal areas
have focused on valuing ecosystem services using CBA, but there is little evidence that
these results are used to inform decision-making processes [
11
,
12
]. Contribution analyses
are found to be more useful in influencing behaviors of decision makers and stakeholders.
Contribution analysis has been found to be a more effective communication of economic
value, as it touches on job contributions, which decision makers and stakeholders find to be
useful in gaining support for actions protecting these reserves and investing in them [
12
].
It is important to note the difference between economic contribution and economic impact.
Economic contribution and economic impact have been used interchangeably in some
instances, which could be misleading. Economic contribution is the gross change in eco-
nomic activity associated with an industry, event, or policy in a region, while economic
impact is the net change in new economic activity associated with an industry, event, or
policy in that region [
13
]. That is, economic contribution simply tracks the gross economic
activity associated with ocean recreation as dollars cycle through the region’s economy,
while economic impact looks at new revenues from ocean recreation that would not be in
the region were it not for the sanctuary.
Economic contribution analyses have been used to examine the economic importance
of tourism and visitor spending in state and national parks and outdoor recreation activi-
ties [
10
,
14
18
], but few studies have examined the economic contributions or impacts of
MPAs and other similar natural areas [
12
,
19
,
20
]. Even fewer studies on actual economic
contributions of the national marine sanctuaries are available. For example, the economic
contribution to regional economies of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine
Sanctuary and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary were examined but focused on
whale watching only [
21
,
22
]. A more recent study on Channel Islands National Sanctuary
was also conducted but only focused again on whale watching [
23
]. While whale watching
contributes to the regional economies of these sanctuaries, other ocean recreation activities
also play an important role in the regional economies of national marine sanctuaries. Visitor
Water 2022,14, 198 3 of 14
studies [
24
27
] that track the number of visitors and visitor spending have been conducted
in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) in Monroe County, Florida, but
these studies focused mostly on trips to the sanctuary in general (both land-based and
water-based activities); however, it is interesting to examine the role of ocean recreation
given the popularity of the area in providing ocean recreation and tourism activities.
FKNMS is one of the important economic drivers of the region’s economy, providing
a variety of ocean recreation and tourism activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling,
swimming, fishing, and scenic viewing. Thus, the main research question this study seeks
to answer is what is the magnitude of the contribution of FKNMS to the region’s economy
from ocean recreation? This is addressed through the following specific objectives:
Examine the spending patterns of visitors who are involved in ocean recreation in
the FKNMS.
Estimate the economic contribution of visitor spending on ocean recreation in FKNMS
to the local economy.
Studies such as this can provide governments with “baseline information on the eco-
nomic contribution from oceans for national ocean investment, planning and protection
strategies” [
28
] and can be used to justify adequate funding for MPAs. This is particularly
important for FKNMS, as its protected waters play ecologically and economically important
roles not only regionally but nationally and, therefore, continued investment in its protec-
tion is critical. In addition, adequate funding is important to increase the competencies in
sustainably managing FKNMS for a sustainable ocean economy in the region.
2. Materials and Methods
The succeeding subsections describe the project study area and the methods employed
to address the objectives.
2.1. Study Area
The study area is the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary located in Monroe
County, Florida. FKNMS is one of 15 national marine sanctuaries in the U.S., which protects
3800 square nautical miles of state and federal waters surrounding the Florida Keys, from
south of Miami westward to encompass the Dry Tortugas, excluding Dry Tortugas National
Park. It was designated a national marine sanctuary in 16 November 1990 and is jointly
managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the
state of Florida [
7
]. This marine sanctuary includes North America’s only coral barrier
reef, extensive seagrass bed, mangrove-fringed islands, and more than 6000 species of
marine life, and it protects pieces of the country’s history such as shipwrecks and other
archeological treasures. Figure 1shows the location of FKNMS including the cities and
representative island districts in the area.
Water 2022,14, 198 4 of 14
Water 2022, 14, x FOR PEER REVIEW 4 of 15
Figure 1. Overview map of the focal study area in the southern portion of Florida, USA (inset), with
the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) boundary shown.
2.2. Economic Contribution Analysis Method
To address the objectives of this study, economic contribution analysis, which is an
inputoutput modelling technique based on the Leontief model, was employed. The flow-
chart (Figure 2) below illustrates how this methodology works [15,29]:
Figure 2. Steps in economic contribution analysis.
Figure 1.
Overview map of the focal study area in the southern portion of Florida, USA (inset), with
the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) boundary shown.
2.2. Economic Contribution Analysis Method
To address the objectives of this study, economic contribution analysis, which is an
input–output modelling technique based on the Leontief model, was employed. The
flow-chart (Figure 2) below illustrates how this methodology works [15,29]:
Water 2022, 14, x FOR PEER REVIEW 4 of 15
Figure 1. Overview map of the focal study area in the southern portion of Florida, USA (inset), with
the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS) boundary shown.
2.2. Economic Contribution Analysis Method
To address the objectives of this study, economic contribution analysis, which is an
inputoutput modelling technique based on the Leontief model, was employed. The flow-
chart (Figure 2) below illustrates how this methodology works [15,29]:
Figure 2. Steps in economic contribution analysis.
Figure 2. Steps in economic contribution analysis.
Water 2022,14, 198 5 of 14
The economic contribution of visitor spending on all ocean recreation activities as-
sociated with the FKNMS was estimated, as well as the economic contribution that is
attributable to diving and snorkeling only. Snorkeling and diving are popular activities in
the sanctuary. In 2019, about 53% of the visitors to the sanctuary participated in snorkeling
and about 21% participated in diving [30].
2.2.1. Defining the Region
It is important to define the “region” of analysis in an input–output model. In this case,
the region is the county where the FKNMS is located, which is Monroe County, Florida.
2.2.2. Defining Visitors and Visitor Number Estimation
For economic contribution analysis, “visitors” include both local and non-local res-
idents; thus, this study includes all visitors to the FKNMS who participated in ocean
recreation whether they are permanent residents, seasonal residents, or visitors to Monroe
County. Ocean recreation in this study refers to activities that are in the water not including
swimming very close to the shore. Examples would be fishing, diving, snorkeling, and
boating. The average number of visitors annually in the area from 2014–2018 was about
5.04 million [
31
]. However, these include all visitors who participated in both land-based
and water-based/ocean-based recreation. Since this study focuses only on ocean recreation,
the percentage of visitors that engaged in ocean recreation was used to calculate how many
of the 5.04 million total visitors were engaged in ocean recreation. About 46% of the total
visitors in FKMNS participated in ocean recreation in 2019 [
29
]. Using this percentage,
this corresponds to about 2.3 million visitors who participated in ocean recreation in the
study. Similarly, the total number of visitors who participated in snorkeling and diving was
estimated based on the percentage of visitors who participated in these activities. About
37% of the total visitors participated in snorkeling or diving in 2019 [
29
], equivalent to
about 1.86 million visitors. These visitor estimates were used as the total visitor inputs for
the contribution analyses.
2.2.3. Expenditure Data from Visitor Surveys
With regard to visitor spending, 2 sets of visitor surveys were conducted to collect
expenditure data:
(1)
Visitor survey for visitors who participated in all ocean recreation activities—this
survey instrument was developed as a way to inform visitor counting across remote
protected areas in ocean settings. The survey was designed to work within the NMS-
COUNT process [
32
] and was more focused on identifying general user characteristics
with respect to visitation patterns, trip characteristics, and expenditures.
(2)
Visitor survey for visitors who participated in diving and snorkeling—this survey
instrument was designed to collect similar visitor data and characteristics related to
trip patterns and expenditures in the Florida Keys, but was focused on users who
identified as snorkelers and/or scuba divers. This survey was deployed as a way to
collect more activity-focused data to assist the Monroe County Tourism Development
Council in addressing their objectives to better understand those activity segments
related to tourism expenditures in the Florida Keys.
The survey data collection methodology included online surveys that were distributed
using Qualtrics survey software. This study followed the Dillman method [
33
], which
describes the most desirable web surveying practices to minimize bias and error sources.
The distributions began in May 2020 to collect 2019 expenditure data, using email addresses
that were sent to contacts obtained from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Com-
mission for people who held natural resource-related licenses or permits related to ocean
activities (fishing, crabbing, boating, etc.) in 2019–2020. Each email included a personalized
link to the survey hosted online by Qualtrics, and a description of the purpose of the project
and the data collection. Further distributions and reminder messages were sent within
following weeks. The last distribution was sent in July 2020. The total potential audience
Water 2022,14, 198 6 of 14
size for both survey instruments based upon relevant email contacts was 89,078 across
all distributions. However, there was a percentage of email addresses that bounced and
another percentage of emails addresses that failed. As indicated in the Dillman method,
we sent one reminder email to the unfinished respondents once a week, for two weeks (i.e.,
every distribution had two reminders). From the larger potential audience size, 3063 effec-
tive survey contacts were established. Effective survey contacts are represented as those
recipients who received the email to a legitimate email address and opened the email
(was not sent to junk mail folder, etc.). From those effective survey contacts, we received
2421 completed surveys across both survey instruments, for an effective response rate
of 79%.
The average level of spending of the visitors in the local area was calculated from
the expenditure data collected from the surveys. Since respondents reported group ex-
penditures for a typical visit or trip to the FKNMS, per person per trip expenditures were
calculated by dividing the average group spending by the average number of people in a
group, which is about 4 persons. Other visitor studies in the area also reported an average
of 4 people or visitors in a party or group [
29
]. Average expenditures were calculated for
each expenditure category reported by the respondents. However, for expenditures catego-
rized as “Other Expenses”, these were allocated to an appropriate specific category (e.g.,
lodging, food, etc.) based on the description given by the respondents. If no description
was provided, the expenditure was allocated equally to the different categories where the
respondent had reported expenses. Allocating expenses to a specific category is necessary
for conducting contribution analysis. Average visitor spending by season and by areas
in the FKNMS was calculated and compared using ANOVA and Tukey’s HSD test. In
addition to information on visitor spending, divers and snorkelers were also specifically
asked how much more they would be willing to spend if additional funds went to coral
restoration and cleanup of trash/marine debris. Average additional spending values were
compared between permanent residents/seasonal residents and nonresidents using t-tests.
2.2.4. Input–Output Analysis
IMPLAN economic modeling software was used to perform the input–output analysis
to estimate economic contributions with 2017 IMPLAN (Version 3.1) data. IMPLAN is
an input–output modeling system based on the work of Nobel Laureate Wassily Leontief
(Leontief model) from the 1930s that maps out the buy–sell relationships of industries,
households, and governments in the economy using annual, regional data so users can
predict how specific economic changes will impact a given regional economy or estimate
the effect of past or existing economic activity [
34
]. That is, it allows for the estimation of
the impact or contribution of potential, forgone, or existing economic activities in a given
region. IMPLAN expands upon the traditional input–output model by including trans-
actions between industries and institutions and between institutions themselves, thereby
capturing all monetary transactions in a given time period, or what is called the Social
Accounting Matrix (SAM) model [
35
]. Models can be customized through the selection
of the IMPLAN dataset, the modeling approach with which the regional purchasing co-
efficients are constructed, and the customization of the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM)
that underlies the input–output model. Once the model is built, the industry is defined by
choosing any number of 536 individual IMPLAN sectors, where each sector corresponds
with one or more North America Industrial Classification System (NAICS) sectors.
Results in IMPLAN for contribution analyses are reported in different economic mea-
sures in terms of their direct, indirect, and induced effects. Direct contributions are those
that are made directly by the primary industry of study’s operation to meet the final
demand for its output. Indirect contributions are those that arise through inter-industry
activity that occurs as secondary industries respond to the demand for inputs by the primary
industry. Lastly, induced contributions are those that arise from the spending of personal
income by the employees and proprietors of businesses within the primary and secondary
industries. The sum of these contributions, therefore, make up the total contribution or
Water 2022,14, 198 7 of 14
the gross change in a region’s economy that can be attributed to the primary industry
of study [
35
]. The relationship between an industry’s direct effects and its total effects
is represented through an associated multiplier statistic. Through the use of the Social
Accounting Matrix (SAM), IMPLAN input–output models are built upon Type SAM multi-
pliers, calculated by dividing the total effects by the direct effects. Type SAM multipliers
are a comprehensive representation of the magnitude of the “ripple” effects that are created
though the broader economy by direct industry activity. Direct, indirect, and induced effects
are reported by IMPLAN for the following measures of industry-specific activity:
i. Employment: The number of full-time and part-time jobs.
ii. Output: The value of industry production or industry sales.
iii.
Value added: The difference between an industry’s output and the cost of its
intermediate inputs, which consists of employee compensation, proprietor income,
indirect business taxes, and other property-type income.
iv.
Employee compensation: The total payroll cost of wage and salary to the employer.
3. Results
Results of the study are presented below, including visitor expenditures, other spend-
ing patterns of visitors, and economic contributions.
3.1. Visitor Expenditures
Individual visitor expenditures collected from the visitor survey of people who en-
gaged in ocean recreation in 2019 (e.g., swimming, fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling)
and the corresponding IMPLAN sectors for each expenditure category are presented in
Table 1. A typical visitor who came to the FKNMS for ocean recreation in 2019 spent an
average of USD 743 per trip or about USD 1.7 billion for all visitors. A majority of the
expenditures were spent on lodging (28%) followed by food at restaurants and fees for
charter fishing, both at 13% of the total expenditures. Another significant component of
total expenditure is local transportation at 10%. Per person expenditures of visitors who
came to the FKNMS for snorkeling and diving, and the corresponding IMPLAN sector for
each expenditure category, are presented in Table 2. Snorkelers and divers spent about an
average of USD 575.79 per person per trip or about USD 1.07 billion in total in terms of
spending by all snorkelers and divers. The largest expenditure category for snorkelers and
divers is lodging, at 36%, followed by food at restaurants at 16%. Food at grocery stores
and local fuel are both at 12% of total expenditures, while local transportation comprised
only 3% of total expenditures.
Table 1.
Individual expenditures per trip of visitors who engaged in ocean recreation activities in the
Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2019.
Expenditure Category Value IMPLAN Sector
Lodging (hotel, condo, rental, camping, etc.) USD 209.63 499
Gift shop items/souvenirs USD 39.40 405
Food at restaurants USD 97.51 501
Food at grocery stores USD 70.15 400
Local fuel expenses USD 73.86 402
Local automobile transportation (Uber, taxi, rental car, etc.) USD 25.87 412
Sightseeing and entertainment (recreation activities, tours,
excursions, etc. USD 44.56 496
Equipment for personal/private recreation (fishing/diving
gear, etc.) USD 55.14 404
Fees for charter fishing USD 95.22 414
Fees for charter diving/snorkeling USD 31.77 414
Total USD 743.14
Water 2022,14, 198 8 of 14
Table 2.
Individual expenditures per trip of snorkelers and divers in the Florida Keys National
Marine Sanctuary, 2019.
Expenditure Category Value IMPLAN Sector
Lodging (hotel, condo, rental, camping, etc.) USD 207.52 499
Gift shop items/souvenirs USD 35.81 405
Food at restaurants USD 90.71 501
Food at grocery stores USD 67.22 400
Local fuel expenses USD 69.40 402
Local automobile transportation (Uber, taxi, rental car, etc.) USD 19.47 412
Sightseeing and entertainment (recreation activities, tours,
excursions, etc.) USD 42.28 496
Rental equipment for diving and snorkeling USD 43.39 443
Total USD 575.79
3.2. Other Spending Patterns of Visitors
Spending patterns of visitors by island district and season are presented in Tables 36.
With respect to visitors who come to the area for ocean recreation, spending is significantly
higher in Key West and Marathon Key and other locations, averaging about USD 209 per
person. Visitors spent significantly less in North Key Largo/Old Rhodes Key, averaging
only USD 57 per person. For snorkelers and divers, spending was significantly higher
in Islamorada/Upper Matecumbe Key, averaging about USD 172 per visitor per trip.
Spending in other areas in FKNMS ranged from just under USD 50 to just under USD 100
per person.
Table 3.
Individual expenditures per trip by island district in the Florida Keys National Marine
Sanctuary for ocean recreation, 2019.
Area Average Expenditure 1
Key West/Marathon Island/Other USD 209.24 a
Islamorada/Upper Matecumbe Key USD 184.99 ab
Key Largo USD 136.32 ab
Tavernier/Plantation Key USD 79.23 bc
North Key Largo/Old Rhodes Key USD 56.74 c
1Means with same letter are not significantly different at α= 0.10.
Table 4.
Individual expenditures per trip of snorkelers and divers by island district in the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2019.
Area Average Expenditure 1
Islamorada/Upper Matecumbe Key USD 172.53 a
Key West/Marathon Island/Other USD 94.54 b
Key Largo USD 74.17 b
Tavernier/Plantation Key USD 53.09 b
North Key Largo/Old Rhodes Key USD 47.60 b
1Means with same letter are not significantly different at α= 0.10.
Table 5.
Individual expenditures per trip by season of visitors who engaged in ocean recreation in
the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary for ocean recreation, 2019.
Area Average Expenditure 1
Winter (December–February) USD 477.34 a
Summer (June–August) USD 281.10 a
Spring (March–May) USD 197.31 a
Fall (September–November) USD 163.89 b
1Means with same letter are not significantly different at α= 0.10.
Water 2022,14, 198 9 of 14
Table 6.
Individual expenditures per trip by season of snorkelers and divers in the Florida Keys
National Marine Sanctuary, 2019.
Area Average Expenditure 1
Summer (January–August) USD 109.80 a
Spring (March–May) USD 74.61 b
Fall (September–November) USD 61.54 b
Winter (December–February) USD 43.92 b
1Means with same letter are not significantly different at α= 0.10.
With regard to spending by season, spending was significantly higher during the
summer, spring, and winter months compared to fall season for visitors who engaged in
ocean recreation activities. Specifically, spending during the summer, spring, and winter
months ranged from about USD 197 to USD 477 per person, while spending in the fall was
about USD 164 per person. However, for snorkelers and divers, spending was significantly
higher during the summer months compared to the other seasons, averaging about USD
110 per person per trip. Spending during the spring, fall, and winter months for this group
of visitors ranged from USD 44 to USD 75 per person.
Snorkelers and divers were also asked about how much more they would be willing to
spend on a single dive/snorkel trip if these additional funds went to coral resptoration and
cleanup of trash/marine debris. The average additional amount that permanent/temporary
residents and vistors were willing to spend is presented in Table 7. Additional spending
for coral restoration was not significantly different between permanent/temporary res-
idents and nonresidents. However, with regard to additional spending for cleanup of
trash/marine debris, permanent/temporary residents were willing to spend significantly
more compared to nonresidents, averaging about USD 66 in additional spending per person
per trip compared to only USD 42 for nonresidents.
Table 7.
Additional spending for coral restoration/cleanup of trash/marine debris of snorkelers and
divers in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, 2019.
Spending Category
Average Spending of
Permanent/Temporary
Residents
Average Spending of
Nonresidents
Coral Restoration 1USD 57.37 USD 43.80
Cleanup of Trash/Marine Debris
2USD 65.96 USD 42.15
1
Means between permanent/temporary residents and nonresidents are not significantly different at
α
= 0.10.
2Means between permanent/temporary residents and nonresidents are significantly different at α= 0.10.
3.3. Economic Contributions
Economic contributions of visitors in FKNMS who engaged in ocean recreation are
presented in Table 8. These visitors contributed a total of 19,668 jobs to Monroe County and
about USD 752 million in total labor income, about USD 1.2 billion in total value added,
and USD 2 billion in total output. Economic contributions of divers and snorkelers are
presented in Table 9. Divers and snorkelers in the FKNMS in 2019 contributed a total of
12,441 jobs in Monroe County. In terms of total labor income, value added, and output,
these segments of visitors contributed about USD 466 million, USD 767 million, and USD
1.2 billion, respectively, to the local economy. Type SAM mulipliers or the “ripple” effects
that are created by the direct industry activity, for both sets of visitors for all categories of
impacts, are all below 2. For example, the output multiplier of 1.54 means that a USD 1
increase in sales will result in a total of USD 1.54 increase in output in the region.
Water 2022,14, 198 10 of 14
Table 8.
Economic contributions of visitors who enagaged in ocean recreation activities in Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Monroe County, FL (Results in 2021 U.S. Dollars).
Impact Type Employment Labor Income
(USD MM)
Value
Added (USD MM)
Output
(USD MM)
Direct Effect 14,303 532.6 797.9 1330.8
Indirect Effect 2981 127.0 204.0 388.3
Induced Effect
Total Effect
2384
19,668
92.2
751.8
187.8
1189.7
330.2
2049.3
Type SAM
Multipliers 1.37 1.41 1.49 1.54
Table 9.
Economic contributions of divers and snorkelers in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,
Monroe County, FL (Results in 2021 U.S. Dollars).
Impact Type Employment Labor Income
(USD MM)
Value
Added (USD MM)
Output
(USD MM)
Direct Effect 9448 349.6 545.7 837.3
Indirect Effect 1516 58.9 105.3 201.0
Induced Effect
Total Effect
1477
12,441
57.1
465.6
116.3
767.4
204.6
1242.9
Type SAM
Multipliers 1.32 1.33 1.41 1.48
4. Discussion
The blue economy is a “growth opportunity for both states and national economies” [
36
].
The ocean plays a significant role in the nation’s blue economy, contributing about USD
307 billion to U.S. GDP and supporting 3.3 million jobs [
37
]. Tourism and recreation make
up 73% of that total employment contribution and 42% of the GDP. Florida’s ocean and
coastal resources play a significant role in the state’s blue economy. For example, Florida
is second to only California as a top contributor in ocean tourism and recreation jobs and
GDP across the country. Ocean tourism and recreation also make up the majority (71%)
of the state’s economic contribution among the various industries connected to the state’s
ocean and coastal resources [
36
]. FKNMS, with its vast marine resources, contributes to the
state’s blue economy. This study examines the spending patterns of visitors to the FKNMS
as well the as economic contributions of visitor spending in Monroe County, FL, which is
the region of analysis. While economic contributions of tourism and visitor spending in the
region have been evaluated [
27
,
29
], this study focuses on a major component of tourism
offered by the FKNMS—ocean recreation and tourism. It shows how spending on ocean
recreation and tourism provided by the various resources within the FKNMS stimulates
the local economy and is therefore an important driver of economic growth in the region.
The findings of this study illustrate that visitors who came in the area for ocean
recreation and tourism spent a total of USD 1.7 billion. A previous study reported total
spending in the region for both land-based and ocean-based activities to be at USD 2.4
billion [
29
]. Since this study focuses only on ocean-based recreation, total spending is
less than that reported in the region. Thus, while the FKNMS offers many activities for
tourists, ocean recreation and tourism are significant components, comprising about 88% of
total estimated tourism spending in the region. With regard to spending of snorkelers and
divers, total spending is about USD 1.07 billion or about 45% of the total estimated tourism
spending in the region. In terms of spending by category, the findings from this study are
consistent with other studies [
26
,
27
,
29
] in the region, which show that visitors spend most
on lodging and food. The same is true for snorkelers and divers. In terms of spending by
island district, ocean recreation visitors spent the most in the Key West and Marathon Island
areas. In 2018, Key West and Marathon Island also received the most visitor spending
at USD 1.1 billion and USD 457 million, respectively [
29
]. This information indicates the
relative significance of these island districts in the FKNMS regional economy. With regard
Water 2022,14, 198 11 of 14
to spending by season, visitors spent considerably more in the summer months, which is
expected as there are more activities available for visitors to engage in and the occurrence of
traditional vacation periods for people in North America. Information on seasonal variation
in tourism demand is an important consideration when managing destinations [
38
]. Since
summer months are a key tourist season in the area, visitor experiences during this season
can play a major role in influencing the economic contribution of tourism in recreation in
the region.
The National Marine Sanctuary System has an annual program budget around USD
55 million [
39
], and the FKNMS sanctuary receives about USD 5 million annually for its
management. Given its economic significance to the region, it warrants continued support
from the government. The USD 1.7 billion in spending from 2.3 million visitors in the
FKNMS on ocean-based recreation results in about USD 2 billion in total output that stays in
the region. Other MPAs in the U.S. that have fewer total visitors (
400,000–1,000,000 visitors)
reported an economic contribution in the range of USD 46–57 million [
12
]. The results from
this study therefore highlight the importance of the FKNMS in providing ocean recreation
and tourism in the region. More specifically, the economic contributions of spending on
ocean recreation and tourism are significant to the contribution of all tourism and recreation
spending in the area. For example, in terms of total employment, ocean recreation and
tourism contribute about 19,668 jobs in Monroe County compared to 26,500 total jobs from
spending in all tourism and recreation activities [
29
]. Thus, about 74% of the jobs created
by tourist spending can be attributed to ocean recreation and tourism or about 36% can be
attributed specifically to snorkelers and divers. In terms of total labor income and value
added, spending on ocean recreation and tourism represents 80% (or 49% for snorkelers
and divers) and 66% (or 42% for snorkelers and divers), respectively, of the economic
contributions from all tourism and recreation spending.
Snorkeling and diving are major ocean-based activities in FKNMS, with significant
economic contributions relative to all ocean-based activities in the region. For example,
the results show that the total economic contribution of snorkeling and diving is about
60–64% of the total economic contributions from all ocean-based activities in terms of jobs,
labor income, value added, and output. A previous study focusing only on reef-related
snorkeling and diving also showed that Monroe County is one of the top-ranking counties
in terms of its economic impacts on the local economy [
40
]. Diving and snorkeling therefore
represent important economic resources not only for the region but for the state. There are
about 2.7 to 3.5 million active scuba divers and about 11 million snorkelers in the U.S. [
41
].
Participation in these activities is expected to grow as other sectors (e.g., commercial fishing)
of the marine economy continue to decline in value [
42
]. FKNMS can benefit from this
given its popularity among divers and snorkelers.
Ocean recreation is therefore an important economic driver in Monroe County and
efforts should be directed at protecting the diverse and sensitive ecosystem of the sanctuary.
The economy of the region is certainly dependent upon the health of the ecosystem of the
sanctuary. Visitor experiences for ocean recreation activities rely heavily on the ecosystem
services provided by the sanctuary; thus, maintaining the health of the FKNMS should be a
priority. However, several factors such as loss of coral, seagrass, and mangrove ecosystems;
pollution from nutrients and marine debris; and climate change in general threaten the
health of the FKNMS [
27
]. Clean up and restoration efforts are therefore important for the
sanctuary to continue to play its role in providing a consistent source of jobs, wages, and
economic output not only to the region but to the entire state of Florida. In fact, visitors are
willing to spend an additional amount of money for restoration and cleanup efforts. For
example, our study shows that snorkelers and divers are willing to pay an extra USD 44–57
per person per trip for coral restoration, and USD 42–66 per person for cleanup efforts.
Permanent and temporary residents are even more invested in cleanup efforts, as they are
willing to pay more compared to nonresidents.
One of the key issues with conducting economic contribution analysis is making
sure accurate visitor expenditure data are collected. Survey data collection was originally
Water 2022,14, 198 12 of 14
planned to be onsite interviews. For more reliable expenditure data, surveys should focus
on interviewing visitors as they leave the venue [
43
]. However, when the COVID-19
pandemic began, surveys were developed for remote distribution (e.g., email). As a result,
some expenditure data may not have been accurately reported.
5. Conclusions
This study particularly highlights the economic contribution of ocean-based recreation,
which is a significant components of the ocean economy. Results of the study shows that
ocean recreation due to the presence of FKNMS in the region contributes significantly more
to the region’s economy compared to other tourism-related activities (e.g., land-based) in
the area. Management efforts should focus on visitor experiences on ocean recreation and
community development activities should focus on sectors that provide services to the
various ocean-based activities in the area.
Maintaining demand for ocean tourism in the area by making sure the health of the
marine ecosystems is being taken into consideration is therefore important for the area
to continue to play its role as a significant economic driver of the region. The results
of this study can be used to inform policy makers, managers, and other stakeholders of
the sanctuary about its economic importance. This will influence investment and budget
decisions, which can further impact the health of the environment and economy of the
region. This is particularly important as MPAs are usually not adequately funded to be
managed sustainably.
To understand the role of the entire Natural Marine Sanctuary System in the nation’s
ocean economy, future efforts should focus on quantifying the economic contributions of
the system to the nation’s economy to gain support for government and private funding
for these areas. There is currently limited information on the economic values of these
sanctuaries. Moreover, the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic that started in 2020
should also be examined at as it affected tourist travel and therefore tourist spending. In
addition, it will also be interesting to investigate the role of the shadow economy in the
region in the context of revenues generated from tourism activities (e.g., tax revenues, labor
income, etc.) and how it affects budget allocations, as it may impose negative externalities
and can therefore have an impact on the contribution of ocean-based tourism activities
in the region’s economy. Such analyses will help contribute to a more comprehensive
understanding of the economic dynamics of protected marine areas such as FKNMS, and
may be scalable to other places in the world, as challenging decisions must be made to
allocate funding for conservation, management, and the development of such resources.
Author Contributions:
Conceptualization, K.G., R.A. and R.B.; methodology, K.G. and R.A.; software,
K.G.; validation, K.G., R.A. and R.B.; formal analysis, K.G.; investigation, K.G., R.A. and R.B.; re-
sources, R.B.; data curation, K.G. and R.A.; writing—original draft preparation, K.G.; writing—review
and editing, K.G., R.A. and R.B.; visualization, K.G.; supervision, R.B.; project administration, R.B.;
funding acquisition, R.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.
Funding:
This research was funded by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, award number
19-04-B-210.
Institutional Review Board Statement:
The data collection in this study was conducted in accor-
dance with University IRB protocol 1902446184 for human subjects survey research.
Informed Consent Statement:
Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.
Data Availability Statement:
The data are not publicly available due to privacy concerns of participants.
Acknowledgments:
The authors would like to thank staff at the NOAA Office of National Marine
Sanctuaries for their helpful support of the project.
Conflicts of Interest:
The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses,
or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.
Water 2022,14, 198 13 of 14
References
1.
Nguyen, A.T. The Relationship between Tourism and Economic Growth: Evidence from Oceania. J. Tour. Manag. Res.
2020
,7,
32–41. [CrossRef]
2.
Hoegh-Guldberg, O. Reviving the Ocean Economy: The Case for Action—2015; WWF International: Gland, Switzerland; Geneva,
Switzerland, 2015.
3.
Sumaila, U.R.; Walsh, M.; Hoareau, K.; Cox, A.; The, L.; Abdallah, P.; Akpalu, W.; Anna, Z.; Benzaken, D.; Crona, B.; et al.
Financing a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Nat. Commun. 2021,12, 3259. [CrossRef]
4.
Binet, T.; Diazabakana, A.; Hernandez, S. Sustainable Financing of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean: A Financial Anal-
ysis. Vertigo Lab, MedPAN, RAC/SPA, WWF Mediterranean. 2015. Available online: http://www.rac-spa.org/sites/default/
files/doc_medmpanet/final_docs_regional/55_study_on_the_sustainable_financing_of_mediterranean_mpas.pdf (accessed on
25 October 2021).
5.
Sala, E.; Lubchenco, J.; Grorud-Colvert, K.; Novelli, C.; Roberts, C.; Sumaila, U.R. Assessing Real Progress Towards Effective
Ocean Protection. Mar. Policy 2018,91, 11–13. [CrossRef]
6.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page. Available online: http://
sanctuaries.noaa.gov (accessed on 30 August 2021).
7.
Leeworthy, V. Economic Impact of Tourist and Resident Uses of Coastal Resources in the Florida Keys: Survey Methods and
Impact Assessment Methodology. In Florida Coastal Environmental Resources: A Guide to Economic Valuation and Impact Analysis;
Letson, D., Milon, J.W., Eds.; Florida Sea Grant College Program: Gainesville, FL, USA, 2002; ISBN 0-916287-52-1.
8.
Letson, D. Principles of Economic Valuation. In Florida Coastal Environmental Resources: A Guide to Economic Valuation and Impact
Analysis; Letson, D., Milon, J.W., Eds.; Florida Sea Grant College Program: Gainesville, FL, USA, 2002; ISBN 0-916287-52-1.
9.
Letson, D. Methods of Economic Analysis. In Florida Coastal Environmental Resources: A Guide to Economic Valuation and Impact
Analysis; Letson, D., Milon, J.W., Eds.; Florida Sea Grant College Program: Gainesville, FL, USA, 2002; ISBN 0-916287-52-1.
10.
Saayman, M.; Saayman, A. Estimating the Economic Contribution of Visitor Spending in the Kruger National Park to the Regional
Economy. J. Sustain. Tour. 2006,14, 67–81. [CrossRef]
11.
Torres, C.; Hanley, N. Communicating Research on the Economic Valuation of Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Services. Mar.
Policy 2017,75, 99–107. [CrossRef]
12.
Stokes-Cawley, O.; Stroud, H.; Lyons, D.; Wiley, P.; Goodhue, C. Economic Contribution Analysis of National Estuarine Research
Reserves. Water 2021,13, 1596. [CrossRef]
13.
Watson, P.; Wilson, J.; Thilmany, D.; Winter, S. Determining the Economic Contribution and Impacts: What is the Difference and
Why Do We Care? J. Reg. Anal. Policy 2007,37, 140–146.
14.
Fesenmaier, D.R.; Joneds, L.; Um, S.; Ozuna, T. Assessing the Economic Impact of Outdoor Recreation Travel to Texas Gulf Coast.
J. Travel Res. 1989,28, 18–23. [CrossRef]
15.
Munn, I.A.; Hussain, A.; Spurlock, S.; Henderson, J.E. Economic Impact of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation
Expenditures on the Southeast U.S. Regional Economy: An Input-Output Analysis. Hum. Dimens. Wildl.
2010
,15, 433–449.
[CrossRef]
16.
Mowen, A.; Trauntvein, N.; Stynes, D. The Economic Significance and Impact of Pennsylvania State Parks: An Updated Assessment of
2010 Park Visitor Spending on the State and Local Economy; The Pennsylvania State University: University Park, PA, USA, 2012.
17.
Koontz, L.; Thomas, C.C.; Zieler, P.; Olson, J.; Meldrum, B. Visitor Spending Effects: Assessing and Showcasing America’s
Investment in National Parks. J. Sustain. Tour. 2017,25, 1865–1876. [CrossRef]
18.
Highfil, T.; Franks, C. Measuring the U.S. outdoor recreation economy, 2012–2016. J. Outdoor Recreat. Tour.
2019
,27, 100233.
[CrossRef]
19.
Pendleton, L.; Krowicki, F.; Strosser, P.; Hallet-Murdock, J. Assessing the Economic Contribution of Marine and Coastal Ecosystem
Services in the Sargasso Sea; NI R14-05; Duke University: Durham, NC, USA, 2014.
20.
Smith, M.D.; Wilen, J.E. Economic Impacts of Marine Reserves: The Importance of Spatial Behavior. J. Environ. Econ. Manag.
2003
,
46, 183–206. [CrossRef]
21.
Utech, D. Valuing Hawai‘i’s Humpback Whales: The Economic Impact of Humpbacks on Hawai‘i’s Ocean Tour Boat Industry.
In The Economic Contribution of Whalewatching to Regional Economies: Perspectives from Two National Marine Sanctuaries; Marine
Sanctuaries Conservation Series MSD-00-2; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
Marine Sanctuaries Division: Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2000.
22.
Hoagland, P.; Meeks, A.E. The Demand for Whalewatching at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. In The Economic
Contribution of Whalewatching to Regional Economies: Perspectives from Two National Marine Sanctuaries; Marine Sanctuaries Conser-
vation Series MSD-00-2; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Marine Sanctuaries
Division: Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2000.
23.
Shea, R.; Schwarzmann, D.; Leeworthy, V.; Hastings, S.; Knapp, L.; Tracy, S. Whale Watching in Channel Islands National Marine
Sanctuary: Understanding Passengers and Their Economic Contributions; National Marine Sanctuaries Conservation Series ONMS-21-
08; U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries:
Washington, DC, USA, 2021.
Water 2022,14, 198 14 of 14
24.
Leeworthy, V.R.; Loomis, D.K.; Paterson, S.K. Visitor Profiles: Florida Keys/Key West 2007–2008. In Linking the Economy and
the Environment of Florida Keys/Key West; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Office of
National Marine Sanctuaries: Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2010.
25.
Leeworthy, V.R. Visitor Study: Selected Comparisons 1995-06 and 2007-08. In Linking the Economy and the Environment of Florida
Keys/Key West; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries:
Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2010.
26.
Leeworthy, V.R.; Ehler, R. Economic Contribution of Recreating Visitors to the Florida Keys/Key West 2007-08. In Linking the
Economy and the Environment of Florida Keys/Key West; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service,
Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: Silver Spring, MD, USA, 2010.
27.
TBD Economics, LLC. TBD Economics Home Page. Available online: https://www.tbdeconomics.com/projects (accessed on 20
August 2021).
28.
Kildow, J.T.; McIlgorm, A. The Importance of Estimating the Contribution of the Oceans to National Economies. Mar. Policy
2010
,
34, 367–374. [CrossRef]
29.
Insights, Inc. Monroe County, Florida Home Page. Available online: https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/DocumentCenter/
View/28944/2020-TDC-VPS-County-Wide-ANNUAL- Summary-FINAL-03242021?bidId= (accessed on 21 August 2021).
30.
Crompton, J.L. The Fundamental Principles of Economic Impact Studies. In Measuring the Economic Impact of Park and Recreation
Services; National Recreation and Park Association: Ashburn, VA, USA, 2010.
31.
Rockport Analytics, LLC. Monroe County Florida Hoe Page. Available online: https://www.monroecounty-fl.gov/
DocumentCenter/View/21667/Economic-Impact-of-Tourism-in-The-Florida-Keys- ?bidId= (accessed on 20 August 2021).
32.
Burns, R.C.; Andrew, R.G.; Allen, M.E.; Schwarzmann, D.; Cardozo, M.J. Conceptualizing the National Marine Sanctuary Visitor
Counting Process for Marine Protected Areas. J. Ecotourism 2020,19, 362–372. [CrossRef]
33.
Dillman, D.A.; Bowker, D.K. The Web Questionnaire Challenge to Survey Methodologists. In Dimensions of Internet Science; Reips,
U.D., Bosnjak, M., Eds.; Pabst Science Publishers: Lengerich, Germany, 2001.
34.
Clouse, C. IMPLAN Home Page. Available online: https://support.implan.com/hc/en-us/articles/360038285254-How-
IMPLAN-Works (accessed on 5 September 2021).
35.
Henderson, J.E.; Joshi, O.; Tanger, S.M.; Boby, L.; Hubbard, W.; Pelkki, M.; Hughes, D.W.; McConnell, E.; Miller, W.; Nowak, J.;
et al. Standard Procedures and Methods for Economic Impact and Contribution Analysis in the Forest Products Sector. J. For.
2017,115, 112–116. [CrossRef]
36.
Florida Ocean Alliance, Florida Ocean Alliance Home Page. Available online: http://www.floridaoceanalliance.org/wp-content/
uploads/2020/07/FOA-Strategic-Policy-Plan_063020a.pdf (accessed on 20 September 2021).
37.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). National Ocean Service Home Page. Available online: https:
//oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/oceaneconomy.html (accessed on 5 October 2021).
38.
Choe, Y.; Kim, H.; Joun, H. Differences in Tourists Behaviors across the Seasons: The Case of Northern Indiana. Sustainability
2019,11, 4351. [CrossRef]
39.
National Academy of Public Administration Home Page. Available online: https://s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/napa-2021
/studies/NAPA-ONMS- Final-Report-3.30.21_Title-Update- 5.11.21.pdf (accessed on 25 October 2021).
40.
Wallmo, K.; Edwards, P.; Steinback, D.; Wusinich-Mendez, D.; Allen, M. Economic Impact Analysis of Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
in Florida Reefs; NOAA Technical Memorandum CRCP 42; NOAA National Ocean Service, National Coral Reef Conservation
Program: Silver Springs, MD, USA, 2021.
41.
Diving Equipment & Marketing Association (DEMA). DEMA Home Page. Available online: https://www.dema.org/store/
download.aspx?id=7811B097-8882-4707-A160- F999B49614B6 (accessed on 1 October 2021).
42. Pendleton, L.H. Available online: https://dfg.ca.gov/mlpa/pdfs/binder3diii.pdf (accessed on 20 September 2021).
43. Frechtling, D.C. An Assessment of Visitor Expenditure Methods and Models. J. Travel Res. 2006,45, 26–35. [CrossRef]
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
The ocean, which regulates climate and supports vital ecosystem services, is crucial to our Earth system and livelihoods. Yet, it is threatened by anthropogenic pressures and climate change. A healthy ocean that supports a sustainable ocean economy requires adequate financing vehicles that generate, invest, align, and account for financial capital to achieve sustained ocean health and governance. However, the current finance gap is large; we identify key barriers to financing a sustainable ocean economy and suggest how to mitigate them, to incentivize the kind of public and private investments needed for topnotch science and management in support of a sustainable ocean economy.
Article
Full-text available
Increased attention to the value of protected natural areas has led to the proliferation of ecosystem service valuations for coastal habitats. However, these studies do not provide a full representation of the economic value of these habitats. Protected coastal environments, such as the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS), add jobs and revenue to their local communities. Institutions such as NERRS provide economic contributions that extend beyond their operational spending and jobs they provide. Spending by reserves and their partners ripples throughout the economy. We performed an economic contribution analysis at four pilot sites using input-output modeling through IMPLAN. Sites contributed millions in revenue and tens to hundreds of jobs in their respective regions. Each of the four sites had a different category of spending that was the largest contributor of revenue and jobs, which is likely due to the community context and location of the reserves. Understanding these contributions is helpful in validating funding for NERRS. Communicating these contributions along with ecosystem service values may increase support from community members who otherwise do not use or rely on NERRS as much as traditional reserve supporters.
Article
Full-text available
Seasonality is an essential factor influencing tourism demand and traveler behavior at the destination. As such, seasonality (i.e., the influx of tourists) needs to be managed by destination marketing organizations. Most tourism studies have focused mainly on the forecasting methods/metrics and the effect of seasonality at the aggregate level rather than understanding seasonal differences in the nature of the traveler and travel experience. The purpose of this study is to understand seasonality at both the aggregate market level and individual traveler level. As such, this study first utilizes the concept of the gravity model to understand seasonality in the number of inquiries through an official website. This study, then, uses seemingly unrelated regressions to estimate simultaneously the effect of various trip-related factors on overall trip expenditures and the length of the trip. The results show that the impact of seasonality on aggregated demand is surprisingly consistent across the seasons; however, individual-level analyses indicate that traveler behavior and travelers’ responses to advertising differ significantly across seasons. Thus, destination marketers need to understand the nature of seasonality of their specific markets more accurately to provide appropriate tourism products/services to their current and potential travelers.
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations’ target for global ocean protection is 10% of the ocean in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020. There has been remarkable progress in the last decade, and some organizations claim that 7% of the ocean is already protected and that we will exceed the 10% target by 2020. However, currently only 3.6% of the ocean is in implemented MPAs, and only 2% is in implemented strongly or fully protected areas. Here we argue that current protection has been overestimated because it includes areas that are not yet protected, and that areas that allow significant extractive activities such as fishing should not count as ‘protected.’ The most rigorous projections suggest that we will not achieve the 10% target in truly protected areas by 2020. Strongly or fully protected areas are the only ones achieving the goal of protecting biodiversity; hence they should be the MPA of choice to achieve global ocean conservation targets.
Article
Full-text available
Economic contributions from forestry and forest products help define the importance of this industry to a state or regional economy. IMPLAN input-output modeling software has proven helpful to conduct this analysis and is commonly used in the United States. However, input-output modeling and the results of economic impact or contribution analyses can vary substantially, depending on the modeling assumptions of the analyst, creating confusion among end users as comparisons are made among studies. Southern Regional Extension Forestry and the Southern Group of State Foresters invited forest and regional economists from the Southern Region to a summit in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 2015 to discuss concerns and issues with respect to collection, calculation, and delivery of information on the economic role of forestry and the forest products industry to the southern region. This article discusses major issues identified and recommendations suggested at the Little Rock Summit.
Article
This paper focuses on the development of a systematic data collection effort that allows managers to better understand the visitors to marine resource areas managed by NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS). Through the National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Counting Process (NMS-COUNT), resource managers will gain valid and reliable data and data collection methodologies to advance predictive capability and understanding of visitors. While various federal and state agencies and Coastal Treaty Tribes collaborate in the management of coastal and marine areas, there is little compatibility in methods for estimating visitation. The NMS-COUNT process offers an iterative framework that allows local management and stakeholders to contribute to the understanding of visitor use at an NMS unit throughout each phase of the process. Building off the Interagency Visitor Monitoring Framework, the NMS-COUNT process focuses on visitation estimates and direct communication with managers and researchers to develop and implement the most efficient methodology.
Article
This paper summarizes the methodology and results of newly-released federal statistics describing the U.S. outdoor recreation economy. These new statistics show that outdoor recreation represented 2.2% of the U.S. economy from 2012 to 2016, similar in size to the utilities and mining industries. Boating/fishing contributed $38.2 billion to gross output in 2016, followed by game areas (includes golfing and tennis) ($36.3 billion) and RVing ($30.8 billion). Additionally, more than 4.5 million jobs were generated by the outdoor recreation economy in 2016, resulting in $213.6 billion of compensation paid to U.S. workers. These new statistics provide for the first time a comprehensive and consistent measure of the value of outdoor recreation to the U.S. economy. Any future updates to these statistics may consider adding regional data and a longer time series to provide even more meaningful statistics to researchers and policymakers. Management implications New statistics provide estimates of the outdoor recreation economy from an unbiased source: the outdoor recreation satellite account (ORSA). The ORSA provides a solid framework to measure the outdoor economy and can be used - To show the significance of the outdoor recreation economy - To compare its relevance with other economic sectors - To examine the growth of the outdoor recreation economy over time in a detailed manner - To pay attention to specific outdoor recreation activities and their respective changes over time.
Article
This paper provides an overview of the evolution, future, and global applicability of the U.S. National Park Service's (NPS) visitor spending effects framework and discusses the methods used to effectively communicate the economic return on investment in America's national parks. The 417 parks represent many of America's most iconic destinations: in 2016, they received a record 331 million visits. Competing federal budgetary demands necessitate that, in addition to meeting their mission to preserve unimpaired natural and cultural resources for the enjoyment of the people, parks also assess and showcase their contributions to the economic vitality of their regions and the nation. Key approaches explained include the original Money Generation Model (MGM) from 1990, MGM2 used from 2001, and the visitor spending effects model which replaced MGM2 in 2012. Detailed discussion explains the NPS's visitor use statistics system, the formal program for collecting, compiling, and reporting visitor use data. The NPS is now establishing a formal socioeconomic monitoring (SEM) program to provide a standard visitor survey instrument and a long-term, systematic sampling design for in-park visitor surveys. The pilot SEM survey is discussed, along with the need for international standardization of research methods.
Article
Quantifying the monetary value of ecosystem services (ES) provided by coastal and marine resources can help policy makers assess the trade-offs and synergies inherent in ecosystem-based management of marine and coastal environments, thus increasing the social efficiency of decision-making processes. As shown by the valuation literature, the number of coastal and marine management settings where valuation researchers have attempted to make a contribution is rising fast. However, this rise in research activity has not been matched by the increase in the use of economic valuation (EV) in the actual management of coastal and marine resources. This raises an interesting question: is EV responding to the needs of policy makers? This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the knowledge base regarding the economic values for coastal and marine ecosystems. It then discusses how to improve the uptake of ES valuation research by focussing on two core issues which are thought to be essential for more effective communication with the policy community.