Park user fees (PUF) are well established in protected areas worldwide to provide and maintain visitor facilities, and for conservation and management of park estate. However, encouraging visitors to pay PUF is a persistent challenge for park managers.
Our study showed that persuasive messages on park signage were able to reduce non-compliance rates by nearly 50%. We found that people who were attached to parks and perceived that they attained greater benefits from visiting parks and a greater return on investment were more likely to pay PUF.
National parks that incorporate persuasive messages on their signage are likely to increase visitor compliance with paying PUF and facilitate a visitor-friendly approach to management. Communication strategies on signage or elsewhere that foster park attachment, and promote benefits attained from visiting parks, constitute important additional measures to encourage people to pay PUF.