Recreational value of an oasis in Oman

Slim Zekri*, Msafiri Mbaga, Ayoub Fouzai, Saif Al-Shaqsi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing demand for water to develop non-agricultural activities is causing water to be diverted to high-value uses at the expense of irrigation. However, agriculture provides a flow of amenities in the desert environment which are not either accounted or paid. Oases are spread all over the globe and are threatened for various reasons among which is the high pressure of demand for fresh water. This paper estimates the recreation use value of an oasis. The paper is based on the Misfat Al-Abryeen oasis in Oman, a man-made area of streams and woodland. The travel cost method is used through an on-site questionnaire distributed to 230 visitors. Around 75% of visitors to the oasis also visited other historical or ecological sites during the same day-trip. The econometric model is estimated using negative binomial regression with endogenous stratification. The average consumer surplus, or benefit, from visiting Misfat Al-Abryeen is estimated at US$ 104.74 per individual per trip. The total social benefit from this oasis is estimated at $366,590 per year. These results underscore the importance of the role played by irrigated agriculture in the provision of amenity services for the tourism sector in a desert environment. The sustainability of the irrigation activity depends on the recognition of the recreation role of oases and the transfer of part of these benefits to the farmers who maintain the irrigation system. The implementation of an entrance fee to the oasis might increase farmers' profit by 6-21%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011


  • Agriculture
  • Consumer surplus
  • Endogenous stratification
  • Negative binomial regression
  • Recreation
  • Travel cost method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


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