Assessing Public Recreation Service and Facility Preferences of Tourists and Residents at North Lake Tahoe, California
Keywords:tourism, user' fees, financing recreation infrastructure, free rider, payment mechanisms.
AbstractPublic-private partnerships and separate infrastructure investments by public agencies and private businesses are essential to development and maintenance of services needed to support a viable tourism industry. Local public park and recreation areas, facilities, and services are often important tourism infrastructure. These must be funded through mechanisms that are (1) politically acceptable to local voters and political decision makers and (2) equitable to both local residents and visitors or tourists. Otherwise, local voters and politicians may resist expenditure of public funds forinfrastructure used by visitors or tourists if they believe that tourists are not paying for use, thus being viewed as "free riders." This research presents the findings oftwo 1988 surveys of voters and recreation users including visitors to the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District located north of Lake Tahoe, California. Specifically, discussion focuses on (1) similarities and differences in recreation facility and service preferences oflocal voters and recreation users, including tourists, and (2) acceptability of alternative payment mechanisms for those facilities and services. Results show that some services and facilities used by tourists can be developed and financed through traditional mechanisms, while others should be funded through user fees. A "package" of funding alternatives must be utilized to satisfy both locals and tourists.
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