Sustainable Development Through Desert Tourism Planning: A SWOT Approach
Free (open access)
359 - 366
M. Sabokkhiz & S. Sabokkhiz
In this paper a new method is presented for sustainable development in desert regions using their tourism potentials. By providing job opportunities, tourism can play an important role in sustainable development in developing countries. Desert areas are characterized by a low and sparse population spread over large areas of lower productivity land which made their sustainable development complex. Deserts have a variety of potentials from a tourism point of view in which comprehensive planning can lead them to a sustainable development. Iran, located on the world desert girdle, contains 3.8% of the world’s deserts. Lack of natural resources in Iran desert lands makes their development very slow and unsustainable. Research and practices in other countries such as Australia showed that tourism planning can be viewed as one of the most appropriate ways for sustainable development in such areas. Previous research has focused on tourism development by using the deserts’ environmental characteristics and they mostly neglect sustainability in development. This research intends to provide sustainability through tourism planning in desert environments in Iran. We firstly investigate tourism’s interesting parameters in Iran’s desert lands. Then, by using AHP analysis and comparing different rural areas from these parameters’ point of view the best region for starting desert tourism planning is selected. The best area is Mesr Village near the central desert of Iran. Afterward, using SWOT and investigating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, some strategic plans for developing the tourism industry and subsequently sustainable development in this area are proposed. Keywords: AHP model, SWOT model, tourism planning, desert tourism.
AHP model, SWOT model, tourism planning, desert tourism