Tourism and environmental preservation are often conflicting activities, mainly in coastal lagoons, where seaside mass-tourism comes into contact with a very sensitive ecological system. In this paper we deal with a classical problem of both environmental and tourism economics, the internalization of environmental costs of tourism, focusing on the nautical fruition of the Lagoon of Marano and Grado (North-Eastern Italy, Friuli Venezia Giulia Region). Using different instruments, both theoretical (Carrying Capacity framework, Polluter-Payer principle, Coase compensation) and empirical (Log-log regression, Forecasting model, CBA with defensive expenditures and actual market values), we ascertained the result that - given the current nautical berths endowment - a standard Coase equilibrium (unit external cost equal to unit private benefit) does not hold, and a higher number of vessels transiting in the Lagoon is more effective than a tempered fruition for nature conservation. Another interesting result is that the best available solution to internalize environmental externality is a mixed one, combining a command and control rule (a speed-limit prescription) with a Coasian compensation scheme. All the technical theoretical and empirical derivations are reported in Appendix A (Pressure Parameter Calculation), Appendix B (Benefit and Cost Calculation), and Appendix C (Data set and Econometric Tests).
Keywords: Tourism Carrying Capacity, Nature conservation, Externalities, Empirical studies
Jel Code: Q01, Q26, Q57