The Value of a Properly Maintained Hiking Trail Network and a Traditional Landscape for Mountain Recreation in the Dolomites
Alpine mountains represent one of the most important tourist destinations in the world, constituting approximately 3.1% of the global tourism market when considering the tourist flows coming from abroad. While there may be numerous factors that motivate tourists to choose rural areas, an important role is played by the opportunity to visit well-conserved landscapes and uncontaminated natural areas. The purpose of this study was to make a monetary valuation of the social benefits generated by
... its generated by the adoption of three measures of the Rural Development Plan (RDP) of Veneto (Italy) aimed specifically at enhancing the recreational usability of the mountain territory. In this regard, a discrete choice experiment (DCE) was applied for the economic valuation, and a qualitative survey was used to collect the opinion of respondents related to the measures to protect the meadows and mountain hiking trails. According to the DCE estimates, on average, the benefits due to the conservation of the existing meadows and pastures was equal to €851 per hectare, those due to the conservation and improvement of the trail network were €12,260 per km, and the benefits due to the recovery of the meadows and pastures of uncultivated and abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes amounted to €6852 per hectare. Comparing the estimates obtained with the expenditure incurred by the RDP to finance the three actions considered in our DCE, it can be seen that the benefits are considerably higher than the costs, especially with regard to the conservation of paths and the recovery of abandoned areas for naturalistic purposes.