Assessing the Welfare Value of the Elmina Beach

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Beaches worldwide offer a broad range of goods and services to coastal communities and economies. One of such services which provide considerable benefit to Ghanaians is beach recreation. This work represents a Ghanaian attempt to estimate the welfare value a recreational visitor places on the Elmina beach, in the Central Region of Ghana, using the individual Travel Cost Method. The main objective of this research was to find the welfare value of the Elmina beach. Specifically, the factors affecting the recreational visits made to the Elmina beach were analyzed, the visitor’s consumer surplus gained for visiting the beach was established and lastly, an entrance fee that would maximize entrance fee income to local managers of the Elmina beach was computed. The trip generating function was estimated by using Negative Binomial Count Model and survey data collected on-site. The average number of visits made to the beach was 7, with an average distance traveled to the beach at 10.51km and an average trip cost of GH¢ 5.24. Travel cost, age, educational level and multi-destination and multi-purpose trips were the significant factors that helped to explain recreational trips made to the beach. The consumer surpluses per visitor for local, non-local and all visitors were GH¢ 39.43, GH¢64.47 and GH¢ 37.17 respectively. The hypotheses tests revealed there was a significant difference between local and non-local visitors; and multi-destination and multi-purpose trips affect number of trips made to the beach. The maximum entrance fee that would maximize income was GH¢ 0.21 per day. It is recommended that efforts should be made by the government and private sector to improve monitoring at the Elmina beach so that there would be efficiency in collecting entrance fees in the future. Furthermore, similar research should be undertaken in other beaches in Ghana to help get the economic value of all beaches in Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the department of economics, faculty of social sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of a MASTER OF ARTS degree in Economics,2011
Welfare, Travel Cost Model, Trip Generating Function, Consumer Surplus and Negative Binomial Maximum Likelihood.