Zonnation assessment for the areas suitable for tourism using GIS, Isfahan Province

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Rural Planning, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran

2 Ph.D. Candidate in Tourism, Kazan University, Kazan, Russia


According to Universal World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), cultural tourism refers to "the travelling of the human beings with merely cultural motivations such as academic, artistic and learning tours as well as their journeys for academic purposes. These are including taking part in the festivals and other cultural events, visit to the sites and places, travel with an academic nature, folklore or art and pilgrimage". Technically, cultural tourism includes the travelling of the human beings for the purpose of visiting the specific cultural attractions such as cultural heritage sites, cultural aesthetic symbols, arts and parades events which are situated outside of their ordinary living place.
Nature-based tourism refers to a form of tourism which depends mainly on the relatively undeveloped natural environments for their attractions. It is mainly related to the direct enjoyment of the intact and unchanged phenomenon of the nature.
Nature-based tourism can play a positive role in the development of the local target community for the host economies. The economic benefits resulting from nature-based tourism are the creation of local employment opportunities, the tourism revenues, the infrastructure improvement and foreign exchange. Nature-based tourism has been recognized as the factor linking the wildlife protection and economic development. As some authors argue, the nature-based tourism perpetuates the efficient use of all resources with some incentives for conserving the intact natural systems especially in developing countries. The benefits of nature-based tourism depend on the substitution of the productive activities in order to reduce the pressure placed on the resources through providing a reliable and sustainable resource.
The present study is to determine the prioritized areas suitable for tourism in Isfahan province, Iran. With the components of this research, this study is applied-developmental in nature with descriptive-survey methodology based on systematic analysis. To carry out the assessment, scoring the areas has been done based on three variables, namely the number of attractions, the level of performance (national, local and international) and level of access (pedestrian or vehicle access) to the cultural-historical attraction sites and the natural and human-made attractions.
Results and Discussion
Based on the given scores, the highest capacity for the historical-cultural tourism of Isfahan city is centrally situated in two areas, i.e., the center area with the centrality of Isfahan city and North-East area with the centrality of Kashan city and Natanz. Since this centrality has been determined based on the number of attractions, the level of performance and the access to the attractions, it includes a radius of 40 km from the center of Isfahan and Kashan cities. Accordingly, Qohi village and Isfahan city in Isfahan town, Mashhad Ardahal, Joshaqan, Esterk, Taher Abad, Azvar, Rahq, Van, Joinan, Ravanad, qahroud villages, Natanze, Badroud cities, Abianeh and Ab senjed villages in Natanze town are located in these two areas.
Aran o Bidgoland Noush Abad cities and Yazdel and Ali Abad villages in Aran o Bidgol town, Zavareh, Ardestan cities and Moqar village in Ardestan county, Naein city in Naein county, Kolhar, Mourchekhort villages and Gaz and Borkhar city in  Shahinshar county and Meimeh enjoy the highest scores as the decentralized areas.
Based on the ratings, Isfahan province has been classified into 5 categories and the highest scores were found to be categorized in Semirom, Fereydunshahr, Freydan, Khansar, Chadegan and Dehaghan counties on the WestSouth and West as two concentrated points. The South Western area includes Semirom Town especially Dangezlu, Noghl, Khefer, Sivar, Mandegan, Sarbaz Kifteh Guisin, Ghaleh Sangi,  Roud Abad, Bibi Seidan, Ab Malakh, Ghabr Kikha, Garamuk, Agh Dash, Kezen, Cheshmeh Sard, Shams Abad villages and  Semirom, Vanak and Kameh cities. The Western domain includes Fereydunshahr and a number of its villages including Khosh Mive, Chaghirut, Sibak, Meidanak Bozorg, Surashjan, Ghahshejan, Pashandegan, Gurab Milajerd and Fereydunshahr city, the Fereydan town and Noghan Olia, its village, Ofus, Buein and Mianadasht, Daran and Damaneh, Khansar and a number of its villages including Tidjan, Ghudjan and Hasan Abad and Lahijan as well as Khansar city. Based on the given scores, the highest capacity for human-made tourism is two areas Isfahan city and Mobarake.
Based on the findings of the study, there is a potential milieu for the nature-based tourism development in Isfahan Province. Thus, the counties and urban and rural areas are affected by the tourism. The research on the capacity analysis of Isfahan province in terms of cultural- historical tourism development shows that based on the given scores, nearly 29.51% and 19.6% of the total attractions of the province and 34.7% and 22.55% of the cultural- historical tourism attractions of the region belong to Isfahan and Kashan, respectively. In more details, 76.49% of the historical-cultural attractions of Isfahan province belong to Isfahan while the scores obtained for its different regions are as follows: 50% for region 3, 19.82% for region 1, 13.36% for region 6, and 10.91% for region 5.   
The research on the capacity-analysis of Isfahan Province regarding natural tourism development show that based on the assigned scores, Isfahan Province is divided into four categories with the highest scores for Semirom, Chadegan, Fereydunshahr and Freydan. They can be considered as the areas appropriate for nature-based tourism development. To explain more, based on the given scores, 92.06% and 68.18% of the tourism capacity of these two cities belong to the nature-based tourism. Hence, it has the highest frequency and a good situation across the province area in this regard. On the other hand, although Semirom and Fereydunshahr both account for only 14.38% of the province area, they possess 15.18% and 11.78% of the nature-based tourism attractions in this region.   


Main Subjects

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    -        سازمان مدیریت و برنامه‌ریزی استان اصفهان، 1390، سالنامة آماری استان اصفهان، معاونت آمار و اطلاعات، انتشارات پویندگان توسعه، اصفهان.

    -        سیدکمیل طیبی، جباری، امیر و روح‌الله بابکی، 1386، بررسی رابطة توسعة گردشگری و رشد اقتصادی در ایران (1338- 1382)، فصلنامة علمی- پژوهشی پژوهشنامة علوم انسانی و اجتماعی، سال هفتم، شمارة 26، صص 86- 110.


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