An MCE-based innovative approach to evaluating ecotourism suitability using GIS


  • P. Jokar Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Shiraz University
  • M. Masoudi Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Shiraz University
  • F. Karimi Department of Environment, Payame Nour University of Shiraz



Ecotourism, MCE, Geometric Mean, Evaluation, Boolean


Geographic Information System (GIS) can be used in ecotourism as a decision support tool for sustainable tourism planning, impact assessment, visitor flow management, and tourism site selection. Therefore, this system has the potential to be widely applied in tourism. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential for ecotourism development using GIS in Sepidan region, placed in the southwestern part of Iran. An innovative method was proposed for adjusting effective parameters in evaluation of ecotourism. The methods used for evaluation comprised Boolean, current multi-criteria evaluation methods (weighted linear combination), and the proposed methods of geometric mean and its calibration. Results showed that an improved method using geometric mean (kappa= 0.72) was better than Boolean (kappa= 0.56) and multi-criteria evaluation (kappa= 0.59) models. The calibrated geometric mean was also the best among the different models used. It should be noted that the geometric mean method was simpler than multi-criteria evaluation and did not require the weighting process.


Download data is not yet available.


Anane, M., Bouziri, L., Limam, A., Jellali, S. 2012. Ranking suitable sites for irrigation with reclaimed water in the Nabeul-Hammamet region (Tunisia) using GIS and AHP-multicriteria decision analysis. Resources, Conservation and Recycling 65, 36-46.

Banai, R. 1993. Fuzziness in geographic information systems: contributions from the analytic hierarchy process. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 7(4), 315-329.

Bunruamkaew, K., Murayama, Y. 2011. Site suitability evaluation for ecotourism using GIS & AHP: A case study of Surat Thani Province, Thailand. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 21: 269 – 278.

Carver, S.J. 1991. Integrating multi-criteria evaluation with geographical information systems. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 5(3), 321-339.

Chakrabarty, A. 2011. Ecotourism Development and Security Restructuring: A GI Based Planning for Peaceful Dissuasion of Anarchism in Forest Provinces of India. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 21, 108-115.

Elaalem, M., Comber, A., Fisher, P. 2010. Land Suitability Analysis comparing Boolean logic with fuzzy analytic hierarchy process. Accuracy 2010 Symposium, July 20-23, Leicester, UK. pp. 245-247.

Fallah Shamsi, S.R. 1997. Accuracy assessment of satellite-based maps using sampling. M.Sc Dissertation, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Iran, pp. 86. (In Persian).

Fallahshamsi, H.R. 2004. Economic Evaluation of Different Land uses in Kalibar - chai Forest -covered Watershed, Using Linear Programming and Geographical Information Systems, Ph.D. Thesis Report, Natural Resource Faculty, Tehran University, Karaj. [In Persian]

Froja, N.M. 2013. Fuzzy-GIS Development of Land Evaluation System for Agricultural Production in North West Libya. PhD thesis, School of the Built Environment, Heriot-Watt University.

Ghadimi, M., Hosseini, M., Pourghasemi, H.R., Moradi, H.R. 2011. Protection Modeling of Manesht and Ghalarang Protected Areas Using Fuzzy logic. Environmental Sciences, 8: 85-106. [In Persian]

Goudarzian, P., Yazdani, M.R. 2015. Climate diversity in line with agroforestry systems: studying technicalities of agroforestry systems and allied components in two diverse climatic regions (Warm climate vs. cold climate) (Case study: Kazeroun & Sepidan in Fars Province, I. R. Iran). Desert 20(2): 157-166.

Heywood, I., Oliver, J., Tomlinson, S. 1995. Building an exploratory multi-criteria modelling environment for spatial decision support. In P. Fisher (Ed.) Innovations in GIS, Taylor and Francis, London, UK, pp. 127-136.

Jankowski, P. 1995. Integrating geographical information systems and multiple criteria decision-making methods. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 9(3), 251-273.

Janssen, R., Rietveld, P. 1990. Multicriteria analysis and geographical information systems: an application to agricultural land use in the Netherlands. In H. J. Scholten and J. C. H. Stillwell (Eds.) Geographical information systems for urban and regional planning, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 129-139.

Jiang, H., Eastman, J. R. 2000. Application of fuzzy measures in multi-criteria evaluation in GIS. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 14(2), 173-184.

Joerin, F., Theriault, M., Musy, A. 2001. Using GIS and outranking multicriteria analysis for land-use suitability assessment. International Journal of Geographical Information Science 15(2), 153-174.

Jokar, P., Masoudi, M. 2016. Land Suitability for Urban and Industrial Development by a Proposal Model, Case Study: Jahrom Township, Iran. Journal of Environmental Studies 42, 135-149.

Jokar, P., Masoudi, M., Fallah Shamsi, S.R., Afzali, S.F. 2015. Developing a Model for Ecological Capability Evaluation of Ecotourism (A Case Study: Jahrom Township, Iran). International Journal of Scientific Research in Environmental Sciences 3(1): 1-8.

Kangas, A., Kangas, J., Pykäkäinen, J. 2001. Outranking methods as tools in strategic natural resources planning. Silva Fennica 35(2), 215-227.

Keeney, R.L. 1996. Value-focused thinking: identifying decision opportunities and creating alternatives. European Journal of Operational Research 92, 537-549.

Keeney, R.L., Raiffa, H. 1993. Decisions with Multiple Objectives: Preferences and Value Tradeoffs (2nd Edition). Cambridge: Cambridge Press.

Kosmas, C., Poesen, J., Briassouli, H. 1999. Key indicators of desertification at the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scale, The Medalus Project: Mediterranean Desertification and Land Use. Manual on Key Indicators of Desertification and Mapping Environmentally Sensitive Areas to Desertifica¬tion. Project report. European Commission.

Mahdavi, A., Niknejad, M., Karami, O. 2015. A fuzzy multi-criteria decision method for locating ecotourism development. Caspian J. Env. Sci. 13 (3), 221-236.

Makhdom, M. 2006. Principles of Land use planning. 7th ed, University of Tehran.

Makhdom, M., Darvishsefat, A., Jafarzadeh, H., Makhdom, A. 2009. Environmental Evaluation and Planning by Geographic Information System. 4th ed, University of Tehran.

Malczewski, J., Rinner, C., 2015. Multicriteria Decision Analysis in Geographic Information Science. Springer, New York, p. 1-331.

Malczewski, J. 2006. Ordered weighted averaging with fuzzy quantifiers: GIS-based multicriteria evaluation for land-use suitability analysis. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 8(4), 270–277.

Malczewski, J., Chapman, T., Flegel, C., Walters, D., Shrubsole, D., Healy, M.A. 2003. GIS-multicriteria evaluation with ordered weighted averaging (OWA): case study of developing watershed management strategies. Environment and Planning A 35(10), 1769-1784.

Massam, B.H. 1988. Multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) techniques in planning. Progress in Planning 30(1), 1-84.

Najafinezhad, A., Pishdad Soleimanabad, L., Salmanmahini, A. 2013. Comparison of the efficiency of systematic and multi objective land allocation methods for land use planning using Geographic Information System. Journal of Applied RS & GIS Techniques in Natural Resource Science 4, 1-11. [In Persian]

Oyinloye, M., Kufoniyi, O. 2013. Application of IKONOS Satellite Images in Monitoring of Urban Landuse Change in Ikeja, GRA, Lagos, Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering Science Invention 2, 1-10.

Pereira, J.M.C., Duckstein, L. 1993. A multiple criteria decision-making approach to GIS-based land suitability evaluation. International Journal of Geographical Information Systems 7(5), 407-424.

Pourkhabbaz, H.R., Javanmardi, S., Faraji Sabokbar, H.A. 2014. Suitability Analysis for Determining Potential Agricultural Land Use by the Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Models SAW and VIKOR-AHP (Case study: Takestan-Qazvin Plain). J. Agr. Sci. Tech. 16, 1005-1016.

Ryngnga, P.K. 2008. Ecotourism Prioritization: A Geographical Information System Approach. South Asian Journal of Tourism and Heritage 1, 49-56.

Sepehr, A., Hassanli, A.M., Ekhtesasi, M.R., Jamali, J.B. 2007. Quantitative assessment of desertification in south of Iran using MEDALUS method. Environ. Moni.t Assess. 134, 243-254.

Thill, J.C. 1999. Multicriteria decision-making and analysis: a geographic information sciences approach. Ashgate, New York, USA.

Voogd, H. 1983. Integrating multi-criteria evaluation with geographical information systems. Taylor & Francis, London, UK.

Yager, R. 1988. On Ordered weighted averaging aggregation operators in multicriteria decision making. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics 18(1), 183-190.

Zarei, R., Alsheikh, A. 2012. Modeling of Urban Development Using CA and Genetic Algoritm (A Case Study: Shiraz City). Urban Planning 3, 1-16. [In Persian]




How to Cite

Jokar P, Masoudi M, Karimi F. An MCE-based innovative approach to evaluating ecotourism suitability using GIS. CIG [Internet]. 2021 Jul. 1 [cited 2024 May 28];47(2):545-56. Available from: