Prioritization of Tourism Attractions of Yazd City based on Development Feasibility Analysis

Document Type : Article extracted From phd dissertation


1 PhD Student in Urban Planning, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran


Extended Abstract
Yazd city, with its various tourism attractions, each year hosts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists. The long-term tourism planning requires a feasibility analysis of development of the attractions. The aim of this research is prioritizing the tourism attractions of Yazd city as one of the classical tourism destinations in Iran based on the Inskeep`s quantitative matrix evaluation technique containing factors of accessibility, economic development feasibility, environmental impact of development, socio-cultural impacts of development, national/regional importance and international importance.
The research method is descriptive-analytical and the data gathering tool includes library studies, interviews and questionnaire. For this purpose, after identifying the tourism attractions of Yazd city, a questionnaire based on the six above factors was prepared with a scale of 1 to 10 and given to 17 experts from different fields of tourism in Yazd, whom were selected using the purposeful snowball sampling. In order to prioritization the attractions, a quantitative model of the Preference Selection Index (PSI) which is one of the new methods of Multi-Criteria Decision Making, was applied in Microsoft Excel software.
Results and discussion
The architectural heritage attraction is superior to other tourism attractions in Yazd in terms of factors of accessibility with a score of 8.35, national/regional importance with a score of 9.17, and international importance with a score of 9.52 that indicate allocation of the most urban transportation infrastructure to this attraction, the density of most accommodation centers and the proximity of heritage buildings in the historical texture of Yazd city, as well as the great interest of foreign and domestic tourists to it. Also, in terms of factors of socio-cultural impacts of development with a score of 1.06 and environmental impacts of development with a score of 1.82, it has obtained the lowest negative score, which means that the development of tourism based on this attraction causes the least damage to the social texture and cultural identity of Yazd, and its negative environmental impacts on the historical texture of Yazd will be negligible in the future. The handicrafts and local products attraction, in terms of economic development feasibility with a score of 9.05 has the highest score compared to the other attractions, which indicates the high potential of investment in marketing products in this field. Also, the lowest positive score in terms of factors of accessibility with a score of 5.11, national/regional importance with a score of 6.76 and international importance with a score of 6.29 are allocated to special sports venues and facilities, which indicates the lack of development of sport infrastructure and equipment and lack of attention to Yazd as a host of competitions and sports events at the national and international levels. Furthermore, the culture and local traditions attraction is at the lowest level in terms of economic development feasibility factor with a score of 7.52, which indicates the low economic efficiency of tourism development based on this attraction. The highest negative score in terms of factors of socio-cultural impacts of development with a score of 3.48 and environmental impact of development with a score of 6.41 were attributed to manufacturers’ sales center and mines. The reasons for this could be the change in population structure of Yazd city because of the uncontrolled migration of employed non-native workers in these industries during recent years and potential pollution due to lack of proper positioning and concentration of industry-related activities at Yazd’s entrances.
According to the expert’s opinions, the most important factors of the development feasibility of Yazd's tourism attractions in order of importance include national/regional component and then, with slight difference, the economic development feasibility one. Therefore, it can be inferred that targeting base for the development planning of tourism attractions in Yazd city should focus on capacity building to attract national and regional tourists. There is also the appropriate basis to ensure economic return on investment for the development of tourism attractions in Yazd city. But since the international importance factor is in the third place, the attractions of Yazd compared to the previous two factors have less potential to attract foreign tourists in the fields of heritage, health and trade. Furthermore, there is the accessibility factor, which refers to the existence of the minimum necessary facilities in the field of urban and suburban transportation and the need to pay more attention to it. Finally, the factors of socio-cultural impacts of development and environmental impacts of development are the least important, which can indicate the low development of tourism attractions in Yazd, because often these effects are less visible in destinations that are in the early stages of development.
The final results showed that the development priority is based on the attractions of architectural heritage; local handicrafts and products; holding special religious ceremonies; and culture and local traditions, respectively. So that, all of them indicate the tangible and intangible heritage dimensions of Yazd city. Totally, according to the prioritizing of attractions and determining the importance of factors, it can be inferred that, despite the passing of 3 years since the inscription of the Historic City of Yazd as the first city of Iran on the UNESCO's World Heritage List, there is no codified plan to take advantage of this unique opportunity to attract foreign tourists, while focusing on this potential can lead to the development of other attractions that have gained low positions. If the attractions in the destination are developed in a balanced way, there will be a clear prospect for the success of tourism. Therefore, in addition to paying attention to the Yazd`s heritage attractions, the appropriate preparation should be laid for commercial, medical and sports attractions, which requires an integrated and long-term planning.


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