Potentialities Planning Of Sustainable Ecotourism In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia
Free (open access)
205 - 214
A. O. Al-Sulbi
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) covers an area of more than 2.24 million km2, and overlooks coasts for more than 2,500 linear kilometres along the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Its mainland is subdivided into thirteen regions which vary in their geomorphological and socio-cultural features. Such a spatial extent represents varieties of natural ecosystems; the most vulnerable and important ones were exemplified in sixteen protected areas which cover about 4.5% of the total area of the country. The diversification of natural habitats and ecosystems extends from deep seas through coastal plains to plateaus and harsh deserts. The strategic movement toward promotion of the tourism industry in all regions of the KSA began in 2002 and has attracted huge investments in this newly growing sector as well as a change in tourists’ attitudes. Most of the investments seek short-time profit, thus environmental issues and regional sociocultural differences are less considered in planning of most of the touristic projects. Planning of ecotourism potentialities in the KSA requires holistic integration of both biocentic (nature-centred) and anthropocentric (human-centred) perspectives to maintain sustainable ecotourism at the national level, which is the function of environment, economy and equity (or justice). Therefore, the aim of this paper is to promote sustainable ecotourism in the KSA through exploration of major natural potentialities and their opportunities for different types of ecotourism. It also tries to draw several planning and management guidelines in order to ensure acceptable environmental qualities and the sustainable use of the resources within their natural ecosystems. Keywords: Saudi Arabia, sustainable ecotourism, natural ecosystems, protected areas, cultural values, potentialities planning.
Saudi Arabia, sustainable ecotourism, natural ecosystems, protectedareas, cultural values, potentialities planning