This study assesses the willingness of people in three cities in the Philippines to pay for the conservation of one of the country’s most important marine areas. The research was carried out to find alternative sources of finance for the Philippine’s marine conservation program. Lack of funds is already placing many of the country’s key marine areas in danger from illegal and destructive fishing and other environmental threats. The contingent valuation method (CVM) was used to find out how much people in Quezon City, Cebu City and Puerto Princesa would be willing to contribute to a conservation trust fund for the Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park (TRNMP). This is a UNESCO world heritage site covering 33,000 hectares of the Sulu Sea. It has been under threat from illegal fishing and has suffered significant coral loss in recent years. The study finds that well over 40% of all respondents would be willing to pay money to support conservation in the reserve and in its surrounding waters. It finds that people are most willing to pay because they think that it is important to conserve the marine park for future generations. Although differences are found in the amount of money people would be willing to give for reef conservation, even the lowest estimate of the overall potential income- PHP141 million (or USD2.5 million) per year – would provide more than enough money to fund conservation work in the TRNMP. Given this promising revenue source, the report outlines a number of options for collecting this money – including two different tax proposals and a number of suggestions for collecting voluntary donations.

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Valuing Biodiversity Conservation in a World Heritage Site: Citizen’s Non-use Values for Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, Philippines