Environmental impact assessment of tourism development in Lut desert using DPSIR and TOPSIS models

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Environmental science department, Natural resources and Environmental science faculty, Birjand University, Birjand, Iran

2 environmental science, Birjand University

Abstract

Tourism is one of the most diverse economic activities in the world. Desert ecosystems are now considered as one of the important natural tourist attractions due to their unique ecological potential and socio-economic capabilities and values, attractions, and unique features. Lut desert has also attracted the attention of many tourists around the world as a tourist destination. This is while, tourism development in the Lut desert cannot be easy due to its natural fragility. Therefore, the current research aimed to prioritize the impacts of tourism development in the Lut desert by integrating the driver-pressure-state-impact-response (DPSIR) model and TOPSIS technique in order to formulate management strategies. The values of severity and importance of each of the identified impacts were prioritized using the TOPSIS technique and according to experts’ opinions. The results showed that the decline of culture and customs (0.80) and the indicators of cultural and social dichotomy (0.31) were the most important impacts. Land use change for the sake of infrastructural development (0.27), and activation the government diplomacy (0.26) were the next most important priorities. Tourism development in the Lut desert has positive and negative impacts, so in order to develop tourism with minimal damages to nature (ecotourism), it is necessary for the planners and managers to consider the relevant policies. Finally, this article proposed strategies which help accurate and wise development of tourism, such as codified educational programs to the tourist and host community, planning and appropriate land use management for infrastructural development.

Keywords