Document Type : Research Paper
Ph.D. Candidate in Geography and Urban Planning, University of Tarbiat Modares, Tehran, Iran
Associate Professor of Geography and Cartography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Professor of Geography and Cartography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
M.A. Student in Geography and Tourism Planning, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran
Tourism industry, according to figures and statistics published by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in the new millennium, has turned into the largest source of world revenue. The economists know this industry as the third dynamic economic activity after oil and automotive industries. Travel and Tourism is a dynamic industry which boosts economies by generating income, employment, investment and exports. Iran as one of the developing countries in the world, which its oil supplies are the main source of income and in near future these oil supplies will be finished, needs to use its whole potentials to provide a sustainable and comprehensive development and also substituting new income sources instead of oil resources. Iran is including one of the top ten countries which according to terms of UNESCO have outstanding archaeological and historic attractions. It is also one of the most noble of human civilization in the realm of political geography, but it accounts for a tiny proportion of the major tourism market in the world. One of the main reasons for this failure is the inappropriate presentation and unavailability of optimum services and facilities in Iran. In the highly competitive tourism industry, service becomes one of the most important elements to gain a sustainable competitive advantage in the marketplace. Consequently, the efforts of service managers and academic researchers are directed towards understanding how customers perceive the quality of services. Satisfaction of visitors is very desisive in success of a destination. Therefore, the tourists’ satisfaction requires a detailed analysis of the services and its proper handling. One way to satisfy tourists is the tourism spatial planning program, because tourism development planning approach can be an effective factor in achieving the goals of sustainable and balanced development of our country. In opinion of most scientists and planners the required goals in this activity is much more than the economic and social benefits and needs of a general plan. On the other hand, spatial planning to develop the tourism attempts to reach the best spatial pattern of regional development.
Since the great history of civilization and cultural identity of Iran is peered by monuments in different towns of Fars Province, this province is one of the most important tourism centers of Iran. Thousands of visitors annually visit its historical, cultural and natural attractions. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the planning of tourism services because these centers have an essential role in the comfort and satisfaction of tourists and also economic development of tourism destinations. It is obvious that optimum access to tourism services requires the establishment of services in appropriate places so that the tourists can have access to them by the least time and expenses. As it was mentioned, the most important goal of this research is to make a zoning of optimal supply centers of the tourism services throughout the Fars Province. Thus, proportional to each destination capacity, we will initially manage the tourists and their demands better and then recognize destinations with limitations and try to solve these problems.
This research is an analytical, descriptive and practical research. The data have been collected by library and field studies. First, the criteria of spatial planning of tourism services were defined by Delphi method, then for analysis of the data, the hierarchical weighting method of Fuller has been used. After weighting the criteria, the optimization and ranking models were used to choose the appropriate zone of tourism services. The MAPPAC, as a mental-based method according to the experts’ opinions, and Artificial Neural Network method, as a data- based method, have been used to make a zonnation for appropriate tourism services. It is necessary to indicate that this research has no statistical sample and the statistical society is all of the tourism attractions and services of Fars Province.
Results and Discussion
Definition of the criteria is one of the most important and fundamental steps of any research. Criteria of this research were obtained by Delphi method including: 1. Specific or transportation services (petrol stations, gas stations ...), 2. Business services (supermarkets, fast food markets …), 3. Natural factors (slope, elevation and natural hazards), 4. roads, 5. tourism attractions (natural, historical, religious) and 6. infrastructures (leisure centers, police centers …). Then, by Fuller model, the criteria were weighted. According to the opinions of experts, the most important one was the historical attractions and the least weight was allocated to the natural hazards. After weighting the data layers, the criteria were connected to the base unit of political zones of Fars Province. After the required layers were connected to the base unit, according to the research goal of ranking the appropriate tourism zones, the optimization and ranking models were applied because the distribution of services in proportion of tourism attractions were not spatially balanced. In other words, there are tourism attractions which despite of owning high potential of attracting tourists have no or not enough services. The MAPPAC method based on the opinion of experts was used for ranking and prioritization of the appropriate zones. Then, by applying the ANN model the best zone of tourism services were distinguished.
Results of MAPPAC technique of Artificial Neural Network model indicate that a great part of Fars Province, despite its tourism attractions, has less or no tourism services. Political parts of Eghlid, Sepidan, Bavanat, Mamasani, Ghir and Kazeroon, Firooz Abad, Farashband, Jahrom, Khonj, Zarin Dasht, Garash, Lamerd and Mohr towns have the least services. It is essential that tourism planners and managers prioritize these zones. Also, parts of Shiraz, Marvdasht, Zarghan, Abadeh, Darab, Sarvestan, Kazeroon and Seydan towns have better and more appropriate services.