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The recreational value of botanic garden events: A case study of the Zagara plant fair in Palermo, Italy

  • Autori: Funsten C.; Di Franco C.; Borsellino V.; Surano N.; Asciuto A.; Schimmenti E.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Botanic gardens are defined by their mission to maintain living plant collections for scientific research, conservation, display and education. This mission represents the potential ecosystem services that botanic gardens aim to produce, with display and education specifically regarding recreational ecosystem services (RES). Visitors must directly experience botanic gardens to transform these potential RES into real benefits, yet the public may not be interested in studying plants during their leisure time. Thus, botanic gardens turn to events to attract visitors. The objective of this study is to estimate the RES benefits created by a botanic garden event and profile the visitors that it brings into the garden. To do so, a questionnaire was distributed at the Zagara plant festival, held in Spring 2021 at the Palermo University Botanic Garden in Sicily (Italy). Respondents are local, young to middle-aged, mostly female, well-educated, upper to middle class and not accompanying children. Most came to the Zagara to observe, admire or purchase plants. Through the zonal Travel Cost Method (TCM), visitors' marginal consumer surplus is estimated to be 6.16 € and the event's total recreational value is estimated to be 26,464.21 €. The study took place during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and responses also indicate that the Zagara filled consequential visitor needs for outdoor social occasions. This study contributes to the literature on RES benefit valuation by applying the well-accepted TCM to the unexplored subject of special events in botanic gardens with the aim of supporting management decisions.