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DEVELOPING NATURAL ATTRACTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE DESERT ECOTOURISM IN KASHAN, IRAN
[ Mahdi Eshraghi, ] - Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,National University of Malaysia
[ Habibah Ahmad, ] - Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,National University of Malaysia
[ Ekhwan Mohd Toriman, ] - Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities,National University of Malaysia
[ Saied Kamyabi ] - Islamic Azad University of Semnan, Iran
Desert areas are usually characterized with a low and sparse population spread over large areas of low productivity land. Bearing in mind there are changes of global tourism demand, development of desert as a tourism destination provides several opportunities. In fact, development of desert Ecotourism provides benefits such as the following. Desert Ecotourism helps creating a sustainable employment for the local people, prepares the ground for macro planning and increases gross internal production as well as preserves valuable plant and animal species, cultural heritage and stabilizes local societies at the macro levels. The prosperity of desert Ecotourism not only results in economic output for broad spectrum of the country which has no productive, agricultural and industrial competitive capabilities, but also it revives some of the forgotten traditional customs, such as camel driving, and helps to improvement of quality of life of communities. Tunisia, for example, showed that the income of desert Ecotourism could achieve up to 3 billion dollars per annum. Most important, desert Ecotourism preserves a unique perspective which has been ornamented by quick dunes, flora and fauna, unique vision and peace, difficulty and intensity of climatic conditions. Consequently, temperature differences between day and night and the historical memories as well as the adaptations of human life in the desert during elapse of time, have made the desert one of the unique attractions of the nature and have resulted in the interest of tourists to visiting desert and experiencing its climate. Iran with varied climatic conditions, different geological characteristics and biodiversity, as well as different cultures with particular identity, can use geographical phenomena throughout the country such as caves, straits, valleys, rift valleys, great rifts, geologic formations, volcano mud, karst lands, sandy pyramids, rocky beaches, ancient mines and yardangs as the constrictive means for developing of desert Ecotourism industry. This paper, however, focuses on providing the profiles of the natural attractions of Kashan desert Ecotourism, as empirical cases from Iran are limited.
Tourism, Ecotourism, Sustainable Development, Desert, Kashan.