Estimating the value of the World Heritage Site designation: a case study from Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, Nepal

Nabin Baral, Sapna Kaul, Joel T. Heinen, Som B. Ale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This paper estimates the economic value of World Heritage Site (WHS) designation for the Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) National Park, Nepal. In 2012, entrance fees were $30 per international visitor; lower fees apply to South Asian visitors, and no fees to domestic visitors. We surveyed 522 international visitors to the Park in 2011 to elicit their willingness to pay (WTP) for access, using the contingent valuation method. Logistic regression results show that bid amounts, gender, age, educational attainment, use of a guide, length of stay in the park, information about park substitutes, and knowledge about the park's WHS designation predicted visitors’ WTP decisions. The median WTP amount was US$90.93 per trip; 63.8% of visitors were willing to pay more than the existing entry fee. The revenue maximizing entry fee was $80 per trip. Knowledge about the park's WHS designation prior to their trip contributed $16.39 to the median WTP: better marketing of the site's WHS status could add up to US$ 566, 619 to the site's annual income. Given that many protected areas now suffer falling public sector financial help, accurate knowledge of WTP is increasingly key to supporting sustainable management in WHS sites, and in justifying tourism to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1776-1791
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Contingent valuation
  • World Heritage Site
  • economic value
  • park entry fee
  • visitor management
  • willingness to pay

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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