Tourists' willingness to pay to view otters along the Wild Coast, South Africa: a potential for increased ecotourism

25 April 2007

This article reports on tourists’ willingness to pay to view Cape clawless otters Aonyx capensis along the Eastern Cape Wild Coast, South Africa. We collected data from a survey carried out using a structured, selfadministered questionnaire. We analyzed 67 completed questionnaires, of which 60 respondents (89.5%) indicated that they would be interested in viewing otters and would be prepared to pay an extra fee, over and above the normal entrance fees, for a trained guide to show them otters. The remaining 7 (10.4%) respondents indicated that they would reconsider and pay if this would create jobs for members of the local community. Most (98.4% and 91.8%) of the respondents also indicated that they would still pay even if there was only a 50% or 25% chance of seeing otters. Most of the respondents were willing to pay either less than R50.00 (ca US$8.00) or R50.00- R100.00 to view otters regardless of the chances of seeing them. We conclude from our results that otters do have the potential to increase ecotourism in the area, and also to contribute financially to the poverty stricken local Dwesa community.