How Trade in Ecotourism Services Can Save Nature: A Policy Scenario Analysis
This article considers a developing country which is abundant in a non-renewable natural resource but scarce in industrial goods. The resource can be used for consumption or for exporting ecotourism services. The article examines scenarios in which technical progress, rising demand for tourism services and higher preferences for the environment reduce today's optimal depletion of the resource. Myopic behaviour and future terms-of-trade gains, however, encourage overexploitation of the resource. As a remedy, the article derives the socially optimal subsidy for the conservation of the resource and discusses North-South transfer schemes which save nature via trade in ecotourism services. Numerical examples suggest that under optimistic assumptions a subsidy rate of about 10% would suffice to preserve the natural resource in the developing country for the provision of tourism services. The resulting cost burden would represent less than 0.03% of the Northern GDP.