PATVIQs and local people

Tim Abbott writes in a comment on this post,

I found this a fascinating concept when you shared it with me and am pleased to see it moving to a new stage of development. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on its utility for protected areas that are most vulnerable to degradation from excess visitation (eg. Galapagos, Namibia’s Vis River Canyon), as well as those where local people realize very few tangible benefits. I’d imagine that communities that rely on tourism will need to see an equivalent amount and distribution of benefits from PATVIQ to embrace it as an alternative.

This is a really important issue. The good thing about PATVIQs (Protected Area Tradable Visiting Quotas) is that they can be bought and retired. If you could buy PATVIQs for e.g. Galapagos, you could choose not to use them. In this way you could provide financial support without putting a strain on the environment – zero footprint.

The aim is not to eliminate tourism, the aim is to provide income without necessarily increasing the number of visitors. Also, there are wonderful parks, e.g. Virunga, that deserve support, but visitors are few because it is a dangerous place to visit. This could be one way providing support.

Clearly some PATVIQs should be allocated to local people. Should they be allocated to communities or to individuals? My instinct would be to allocate them to individuals; people can always pool their resources if they want to. I have seen too many communitarian projects turn into poverty traps. However, this is not dogma, if collective ownership rights make sense in some places, why not?

Which proportion of all PATVIQs for a Protected Area (PA) should be allocated to local people? I have no idea, but looking at PATVIQs as a way of compensating local people for the opportunity costs of PAs could be a starting point.


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