Document Type : ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Department of environmental Sciences, Qaemshahr Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qaemshahr, Iran
Coastal areas are of the most important natural ecosystems around the world, continuously influenced by various human activities, in particular tourism development leading to instability in some coastal areas. The coastal areas of Gilan province in Iran as an important tourist destination have been attracting always special attention of many tourists, investors and operators of tourism. Given the need for the environmental protection regarding the coastal tourism development, the present descriptive-analytical study aimed to identify coastal tourism potentials in the Gilan province by analyzing satellite images and field surveys and provide relevant promotional strategies through SWOT analysis. The results revealed that a majority of coastal areas had developmental constraints, and only one-third of these coasts, including Amirkalaye and Talesh, had the tourism development potential. Moreover, total score of internal factors calculated less than 2.5 (i.e., 2.11) highlighted a relative weakness for the coasts of Gilan province in terms of tourism capabilities. The results of the SWOT analysis also showed that the coastal tourism in this region was in a defensive state environmentally. In conclusion, the factors affecting coastal tourism development based on our developed SWOT matrix were found to be domestic and foreign investments, administrative coordination, detection of coastal capacity, tourism development and environmental tourism planning.