Pristine coastal environments are the key to Hawaii’s worldwide fame and attraction to tourists, yet their economic value remains understudied. This article examines preferences for characteristics associated with beach recreation in Oahu, Hawaii, among residents and tourists. Consideration is given to sand quality, water quality, congestion levels, and swimming safety conditions in the context of a choice experiment. The choice experiment conveys attribute levels almost entirely through pictures, and results suggest that this novel portrayal is well understood by respondents. Excessive congestion and water quality are regarded as the most important beach attributes, specifically the avoidance of poor water quality in favor of a chance to experience excellent water quality. Some evidence suggests that significantly different willingness to pay (WTP) exists among residents and tourists on Oahu with poor water quality and excellent water quality being more important to tourists, while residents place greater value on avoiding excessive congestion.

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Published in Marine Resource Economics, v. 31, no. 1.

© 2015 MRE Foundation, Inc. All rights reserved.

The copyright holder has granted the permission for posting the article here.

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Funding Information 

This research (No. 15–04–105) was supported by the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director. The research was also supported by the Huazhong Agricultural University Scientific and Technological Self-Innovation Foundation (Program #2012RC003).