Supporting the Conservation of Farm Landscapes Via the Tourism Sector

Lava Prakash Yadav, Stephen O'Neill, Tom Van Rensburg

Abstract


Agri-environmental subsidy payments have, in part, been designed to compensate farmers for employing environmentally friendly farming techniques that provide multiple ecosystem services to the public. These public good benefits have also been well recognised in the context of a growing rural tourism sector. However, the high costs associated with the subsidy schemes, in conjunction with the ongoing economic recession, mean that it is necessary to explore alternative sources of funding in order to sustain the farming community. Through a case study in western Ireland, we explore the potential of a “beneficiary pays” approach to generate revenues for funding the maintenance of farm landscapes, which are a fundamental attractor of tourists to the region. Our results suggest that both tourists visiting the region and accommodation providers in the locality are willing to contribute towards the costs of preserving farm landscapes and that such a scheme may generate substantial contributions, albeit not sufficient to replace existing government funding.

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