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Yet another study further concluded that for every dollar that Florida has spent on reef construction in the region, $131 has been returned in recreational value to anglers and divers.
Despite the proven economic and recreational benefits of artificial reefs, their full potential remains unrealized. Willingness-to-pay surveys conducted in the four Florida counties indicated that visitors were willing to spend an additional $21 on licenses to support the artificial reefs. A survey of 9.8 million visitors to these counties indicated that they would have spent a total of $84.63 million in one year to ensure reef maintenance. Given these figures, a $1.5- 3 million dollar price tag to secure a large ship reef that will increase tourism revenues for fifty years represents an incredible bargain for the host community.
Artificial reefs are preferred sites for marine activities and hence the spending of recreational dollars.
A 2002 subscriber study done for Rodale's Scuba Diving , the largest magazine in the field revealed the following information about the major component of our targeted market:
Average household income of $121,000
Mean number of dive trips in last twelve months 4.8
Average spending on dive trips in last twelve months $3,045
Percent spending more than $1,000 on their last trip 46%
Willingness to pay a $ 2/day fee to support a protected area 92.8%
Planning a dive trip in the next 2 years 98.5%
Planning dive trip to the Florida Keys in the next two years 47.9%
Rodale's Scuba Diving has a total audience of 1,169,000. The total number of adults who participated in scuba diving in 2001 is 2,189,000
The Florida Keys
Total Reef related tourist spending in the Florida Keys (Monroe County) during the period from June 1995 through May 96 amounted to over $80,000,000, for the June 2000 to May 2001 period total spending had risen to $356,740,857 with $82,1569,376 of that from artificial reefs alone. Artificial Reefs generating 1,916 jobs and over 1,470,000 person days of activity. The total income contribution (the sum of employee compensation, proprietor income, interest, rents and profits) that remained in Monroe County from artificial reef related activities was $26,695,085.
An initial analysis of dive shop revenue in the Key Largo , Florida area shows a 20 to 25% increase in the first six months since the reefing of the Spiegel Grove , currently the largest ship sunk specifically for reef development. The Monroe County Tourism Development Council determined that, during the first twelve months, the Spiegel Grove generated $17 million in gross revenues for Key Largo .
In the United Kingdom , the HMS Scylla will open as an artificial diving reef in April 2004. In response to the predicted economic boom generated by the Scylla reef, a nearby holiday park plans to construct in 73 lodges to accommodate divers year round. The lodges will replace 95 caravans that can only be used from April to September.
Artificial reefs in British Columbia have already proven their ability to attract tourists and generate revenues year round. Nanaimo , British Columbia , has three artificial reefs within 3 km of the city waterfront:
The HMCS Saskatchewan (sunk June 1997)
The Nanaimo Dive Association began keeping statistics on diving activities in 1996, prior to the sinking of the Saskatchewan .
Only 1 percent of the people who dive these reefs actually live on Vancouver Island and the remaining customers are visitors to Vancouver Island and the city of Vancouver . Seventy percent of the divers are from the US . In virtually all cases, divers book multi day dive trips, generally averaging 5 dives (over 2 days), 2 nights hotel accommodations, meals, entertainment and travel costs (usually on BC Ferries).
The divers typically spend:
$50.00 CDN per dive
$45.00 CDN per night for accommodations
$50.00 CDN per day on meals and entertainment
$50.00 CDN on ferry transportation to the island
One of the five charter operators based in Nanaimo collected the following statistics for their operations in 2002:
2189 diver days/3875 logged dives @ $50.00 /dive $193,750.00
2189 diver days/2189 hotel nights @ $45.00/night $98,505.00
2189 diver days x $50.00 meals and miscellaneous $109,450.00
2189 diver days x $50.00 transportation $109,450.00
Total = $511,155.00
There are 6 charter companies operating in this community of 72,000 people.