Abstract. A growing body of work suggests that tourist entrance fees to natural and cultural sites throughout the world may be “under-priced” relative to the amount that tourists are willing to pay, and the amount needed to manage the sites in questions. This pricing mismatch has serious consequences for the ability of operating bodies, particularly in low and middle-income countries, to perform necessary conservation and maintenance work, putting the future preservation of some of the world’s greatest natural and human wonders at risk. This talk seeks to explore the topic of tourist entry fee pricing from both the consumer and supplier sides, with a particular focus on sites in Mexico and Madagascar.
Are tourists willing to pay more than current entry fee prices, and if so, how much more? Using multi-site survey data, I will show that at many sites, entry fees could be raised considerably higher with very limited impact of visitor numbers and will explain how elasticity of demand and price sensitivity impact on visitor choices. Given this information, why are the entry fees to so many sites set so low? I will discuss reflexive pricing, and why, in the absence of appropriate anchors and cues, the default prices for tourists visiting lower and middle-income countries will be set below the level at which they are willing to pay.