Volume No. 10 Issue No.: 4 Page No.: 758-769 April-June 2016

 

INVESTIGATING ECOTOURISM AS AN APPROACH FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT : A CASE STUDY OF TAFT REGION IN CENTRAL IRAN

 

Ehsani N.*1 and Rastegar R.2

1. International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology, Tehran, Arghavan(IRAN)
2. Business School, The University of Queensland, St. Lucia OLD (AUSTRALIA)

 

Received on : January 10, 2016

 

ABSTRACT

 

It is widely argued that ecotourism can play a significant role in sustainable economic development while conserving the natural resources, mainly in developing countries. Iran has a unique and diverse natural and heritage attractions which makes it a suitable tourism destination. Yazd City is situated in central Iran and known as the Jewel of the Desert is one the top tourist attractions in Iran. The beautiful city is famous for its traditional architectures such as wind towers. With a short distance from this city there is a lesser-known city called Taft with its own natural and cultural attractions. The region has a strong potential for tourism development. Attractions such as pleasant climate, rare flora and fauna, caves, waterfalls and U-shaped valleys in the Taft region made it a suitable tourism destination. Unfortunately existence of unsustainable activities such as mining and illegal hunting in the area can easily damage and destroy such a fragile environment. This study aims to investigate the potential for ecotourism development as an approach for sustainable development in the region. Recognition of both cultural and natural attractions in the region will provide an opportunity for planning of ecotourism development. Ecotourism as an approach for sustainable development can benefit both the environment and the communities in the region. This study further discusses how future development programs should provide economic incentives for local communities and conservations programs while increasing awareness about the value of the environment and local culture.

 

Keywords : Ecotourism, Environment, Local community, Sustainable tourism, Taft, Yazd

 

 

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