Estimates of recreation visitor spending provide inputs to economic analyses and help to identify the economic linkages between the recreational use of forest and its users. Using data collected through survey, this paper determines the type of expenditure of mountain bikers in Putrajaya Challenge Park (PCP). PCP is a recreation area that provides facilities for adventure recreational activities especially mountain biking (MTB). Food, petrol, toll charges and equipment constitute the main expenses for MTB in PCP. The study provides useful information with regards to the characteristics of users, pattern of use and user’s expenditure. It supplies the policymakers with information on the usage pattern that may help in developing the management plan to maintain or improve the quality of facilities provided in PCP.
Keywords: adventurous recreation, mountain bike, recreational spending
The Malaysian government encourages sports and recreation through the development of appropriate facilities and has launched many related events, including the adventure recreation. Ewert and Hollenhorst (1997) defined adventure recreation as recreational activities that contain structural components of real or perceived danger and usually involve a natural environment setting in which the outcome is uncertain but influenced by the participant. According to Arnold and Price (1993), adventure recreation activities are essentially non-utilitarian and provide intense, positive, intrinsically enjoyable experiences to participants. Putrajaya Challenge Park (PCP) offers customized facilities for extreme recreation in Malaysia. It was developed by Putrajaya Holdings with the cost of RM38 million and is currently operated by Putrajaya Corporation in collaboration with the Extreme Sports Association Malaysia (ESAM).
PCP is well-equipped with facilities for adventure recreational activities particularly Mountain Biking (MTB). It covers an area of about 30.33 hectares and is located in Precint 5, Putrajaya. It has a network of MTB trails that passes through an oil palm and rubber plantation, secondary forests as well as bushes and grassy areas on hilly slopes. The establishment of PCP as an adventure recreation park has an impact on the economy. Estimates on the spending of forest recreation visitors provide the basis in estimating the contributions of forest recreation to local economy (Stynes and White, 2008). MTB contributes to economic growth through all the necessary expenditures to enjoy mountain biking. According to Chin & Kriwoken (2003), the popularity of MTB has grown substantially over the last 25 years and continues to grow.
Berg, Braun & Otgaar (2000) found that sports events have become an important means for the economic development of local community, region or country. The expenses of these visitors support local businesses by bringing profits as well as creating professions for the region and the country (Stynes and White, 2008). Due to this advantage that comes along with MTB, it seems appropriate to develop an estimate of recreational spending by mountain bikers. The objective of this paper is to determine the type of expenditure incurred by the bikers of PCP for MTB activity.
The potentials and benefits of studying Mountain Biking in PCP as one of the recreational attraction in Malaysia are also discussed as well as suggestions for the government or forest recreation authority regarding MTB activity. Findings from this study are hoped to provide the government with the information of how much PCP has economically contributed to the state.
Figure 1: Location of Putrajaya Challenge Park
Source: Putrajaya Corporation (2010)
The data for this research were obtained from a series of on-site surveys conducted in PCP. The surveys took place at the access point of the Bike and Skate Complex in PCP from December 2010 to January 2011. The respondents were randomly selected among mountain bikers in PCP. Respondents were asked about their expenditures for MTB activity in PCP using a structured questionnaire. A total of 150 effective questionnaires were collected.
Results and discussion
Frequency of Mountain Bikers According to Residence
All respondents were asked to specify their residence. The result shows that bikers in PCP came from various locations. Majority of the bikers were from Selangor (98), Kuala Lumpur (20), Singapore (14), Putrajaya (12) while other bikers came from Johor, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan and Pahang (Table 1).
Expenditure of Mountain Bikers
MTB expenditure consists of four categories; the cost for food, petrol, toll charges and MTB equipment. MTB equipment includes of bicycle, helmet, biking gloves and shoes, knee pads and elbow pads. It was estimated that the mean expenditure of MTB on food, petrol, toll charges and equipment was RM10.60, RM15.60, RM4.20 and RM1, 862.50 respectively (Table 2). Zero value indicates that there is no expenditure on food. This is because mountain bikers need to consume only a small amount of food which they brought from home for MTB activity. The highest expenditure (RM 1,862.50) was on equipment particularly the bicycle and its accessories. The apparently higher expenditure on MTB equipment compared to others expenses is due to the high initial cost required to involve in MTB activity. The lowest expenditure was on toll charges (RM4.20). It is because the majority of the mountain bikers came from Selangor and need not pay for toll charges.
White and Stynes (2008) found that spending for any services and goods are mostly influenced by the type of recreational activity and the distance travelled. Other factors influencing the level of expenditure of mountain bikers include the size of the recreation group which means the number of persons in the group, the time spent at the recreation area, local prices and the opportunity to make expenditure on site. During the study, there was no shop or food stall in PCP. Although the mountain bikers normally come in group, the expenditure on food and/or drinks are low because they usually go to other locations for refreshment after MTB.
From this study, food, petrol, toll charges and equipment constitute the main expenses of MTB in PCP. Apart from MTB equipment, other expenditure remains low. It is proposed to PCP management to allow and encourage the local community to sell food and/or drink in and around PCP area by providing spaces for food stalls and souvenir shop. By having this, not only will it increase mountain bikers’ spending but at the same time generate economic return to the locals. Nevertheless, the study does not incorporate mountain bikers’ willingness to pay for additional recreational facilities in PCP.
In estimating the expenditure for recreational activity and its local economic impacts, there might be difference in value between local and foreign mountain biker. This is due to longer length of stay of foreigner compared to local mountain bikers since they have to travel further from home. Longer stay would increase the expenditure, for instance for extra cost for accommodation and meals. In addition, the majority of the foreign mountain biker in this study came from Singapore. Since higher currency exchange of Singaporean dollars, the foreign mountain bikers have higher spending compared to the local mountain bikers. Hence, it is suggested studies on recreational visitor spending is further investigated in the future.
The authors owe thanks to Muhammad Firdaus Faisal and Muhamad Redzuan Abd Rani for their efforts during the data collection. A special thank also goes to the Manager of PCP Bazly Mohamad Najib, former manager, Mohd Asim Md Ali and the staff of PCP for providing the information and data of Putrajaya Challenge Park. This study was financed by a grant from Research University Grant Scheme (RUGS) Project Number 03-01-11 1158RU. All remaining errors and omissions in this paper are solely ours.
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