عنوان مقاله [English]
Evaluating the ecological capability is so important that if the selected land lacks the appropriate ecological potential for the implementation of a specific land use, implementing the plan (even if there is a socio-economic need for that specific land use) not only does not improve the environmental status of the region, but also causes more environmental damages. As an economic activity that somehowsells the natural and cultural heritage of different regions, and depends on the natural environment and its exploitation, tourism is one of the most important environmental potentials. Therefore, tourism is considered to be a path to sustainable development, which through its multidimensional nature not only meets the needs of tourists, but also creates major changes in the systemof the host society. Consequently, in order to achieve sustainability, tourismshould be planned in a way that it does not negatively affect the environment, economy and culture of the host societyand meets the needs of the current generation without overusing what also belongs to the next generations.
Materials & Methods
The present studywas applied in nature and took advantage of a descriptive-analytical method to study the parameters in two main sub-sections.The first part included a library research performed with the aim of investigating related theoretical literature and the research background.The second part included some interviews and a field research performed for data collection. To evaluate the regional environmental capability and overlayingmaps in ArcGIS environment, Weighted Linear Combination (WLC) methodand Fuzzy operatorswere used. First, the final map of ecological capability for the development of sustainable rural tourism was analyzed and evaluated using WLC method based on highly appropriate, appropriate, limited appropriateness, inappropriate, and highly inappropriate classes. Then, fuzzy maps were produced with a gamma value of 0.7, 0.8 and 0.9 to obtain the tourism capacity of the region. And finally, the Kappa coefficient was used to compare the accuracy of classifications obtained from the WLC and fuzzy methods.
Results & Discussion
Findings indicate that with a weight of 0.33,tourism resources are the most important factor or capability in the development of sustainable rural tourism in Neyshabur County. The topography, with a weight of 0.192 is considered to be the second most important factor according to the experts and specialists. The third most important factor is the land cover with a weight of 0.138 and then, climate criteria with a weight of 0.117, hazards with a weight of 0.088, socioeconomic factors with a weight of 0.084 and water resources with a weight of 0.051 had the highest scores. Finally, the scores were applied to the GIS environmentusing the WLC method, and the final map of land capability for sustainable rural tourism in Neyshabur County was obtained.
Also, the statistical information obtained from the final map of land capability shows that 27.27% of the area is located in the very appropriate class, and31.76%is located in the appropriate class, while 22.23% and 4.28% of the region belongs to the highly inappropriate and inappropriate classes respectively.In the next step, tourism capacity maps of the region were prepared using a Fuzzy model with 0.7, 0.8 and 0.9 operators. The study area was divided into five categories: very high, high, medium, low and very low in terms of tourism capability.
The last and the most important step was to find the most accuratemap from those produced using AHP and fuzzy methods with different gamma values of 0.7, 0.8 and 0.9. To reach this aim, field observations and interviews with experts and specialists ofthe field were performed. Therefore, results obtained from the maps were compared with the experts’ opinions. Findings indicates that the operator with a gamma value of0.7 and a kappa coefficient of 0.84 is considered to bemore reliable than the operators with a gamma value of0.8, and 0.9 and AHP model. Thus, the 0.7 gamma operator is considered to bethe most suitable model for environmental capabilityassessmentin the region regarding tourism.
Using natural capabilities and potentials is the most cost-effective and lucrative way to achieve sustainable development. Findings of the present studyindicated that the operator with a gamma value of 0.7 and a Kappa coefficient of 0.84 is considered to be the most suitable model for the assessmentof the region’senvironmental capability for the development of sustainable rural tourism and it is more reliable and appropriate than the AHP model and operators with a gamma value of 0.9 and 0.8.Finally, considering the capabilities and potentials of the Neyshabur County for the development of sustainable rural tourism, it is recommended to consider development of tourism in this county as the priority of rural development plans and to use the natural resources of the area especially in the appropriate and highly appropriate classesas a way to achieve sustainable tourism development of the county in the most cost-effective way. It is also suggested that with appropriate management, planning and using the ideas of academic researchers to improve the capabilities of theaverage class, we can make the most out of the potentials of this area to develop sustainable regional tourism.