Iran Ecotourism Potentiality


By Mohsen Ghanbari


Ecotourism is an industry that has developed hugely in recent years. Promoting ecotourism is a way of creating an economic reason to protect natural areas, in addition to increasing awareness of the value of our natural resources. Generally, ecotourism deals with living parts of the natural environments. Ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. Ecotourism typically involves travel to destinations where flora, fauna, and cultural heritage are the primary attractions. Ecotourism is intended to offer tourists an insight into the impact of human beings on the environment and to foster a greater appreciation of our natural habitats. Responsible ecotourism programs include those that minimize the negative aspects of conventional tourism on the environment and enhance the cultural integrity of local people. Therefore, in addition to evaluating environmental and cultural factors, an integral part of ecotourism is the promotion of recycling, energy efficiency, water conservation, and creation of economic opportunities for local communities. For these reasons, ecotourism often appeals to advocates of environmental and social responsibility.


Ecotourism in Iran


Ecotourism activities are gradually becoming popular in Iran. Popular ecotourism activities in Iran include trekking in mountains (such as Mount Damavand, Alam Kuh, Sabalan, Dena), desert treks (such as Dahst-e Kavir, Mesr Desert, Maranjab Desert, Shahdad Desert), bird watching in coastal areas and wetlands, and diving in Kish Island and Qeshm Island.


General information about Iran Ecotourism potentiality


Iran is a vast country with great natural beauty and a rich history. Due to its beautiful natural setting, it can offer a lively and interesting environment to the natural loving tourists. It has various natural attractions, such as temperate forests in the north with high humidity and rainfall (1,700mm), deserts and salt lakes in the central part of Iran, and high mountains (such as 5,671 meter high Mount Damavnd), glaciers and coastal areas.

Considered as one of five countries in the world with the highest biodiversity, Iran is home to 519 different birds, 172 varying mammals, 199 various reptiles, 20 diverse amphibians, 173 assorted fish and 9,000 distinctive plant species. There are also 9 biosphere storages, 50 interior lakes, 548,000 km of coastal lines in the north and south, including the islands, 23 national parks, 35 wildlife refuge and 111 protected regions.

Popular ecotourism activities in Iran include mountain and desert treks, bird watching in coastal areas and wetlands, and diving. There are a number of natural parks and protected regions, such as, Golestan, Kavir, Lar, Khosh Yellagh, Bakhtegan and bamoo, which offer ecotourism attractions.

Golestan forest (national Park), Gorgan


As one of Iran’s most attractive forest-parks, Golestan Forest Park is situated between the cities of Gonbad Kavoos in the Golestan province and Bojnoord in the northern region of the khorasan province.

The park possesses many different kinds of plants and animal species and a very pleasant natural environment.

It was the first area to be designated as a national reserve in Iran. The park, which has a unique situation in the mountain terrain, spans in the bunchgrass steppe.

Being in the eastern edge of the contiguous Caspian Forest, it provides the abundant wild life that one would expect to find in mountains, foothills & valleys with steppe and deciduous forest vegetation.

Iran is highly attractive in ecotourism

Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau with the exception of the coasts of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan Province. The northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran. The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran's largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes. This is because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to reach these regions. The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Arvand River. Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

The wildlife of Iran is composed of several animal species, including bears, gazelles, wild pigs, wolves, jackals, panthers, Eurasian lynx, and foxes. The domestic animals of Iran include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, water buffaloes, donkeys, and camels. Pheasants, partridges, storks, eagles, and falcons are also native to the wildlife of Iran. One of the most famous members of the Iranian wildlife is the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah, also known as the Iranian cheetah, whose numbers were greatly reduced after the 1979 Revolution. At least 74 species of Iranian wildlife are on the red list of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a sign of serious threats against the country’s biodiversity. Iran had lost all its Asiatic lions and the now extinct Caspian tigers by the earlier part of the 20th century.

Kavir National Park


Kavir National Park is a protected ecological zone in northern Iran. It has an area of 4,000 square kilometers (about 1,500 square miles).

The park is located 120 kilometers south of Tehran, and it sits on the western end of one of Iran’s two major deserts, the Dashte-e Kavir (Great Salt Desert).

Siahkuh (black mountain), a large, semi-circular rock outcropping, sits roughly in the park’s center.

The park encompasses desert and steppe Landscapes and it is also known as “little Africa'” for its safari like wildlife, including native goats, sheep, hyenas, wolves, gazelles, leopards, the rare Asiatic Cheetsah, and the Persian Leopard.

Armand river- Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari


Long rivers that stretch from the mountains to the fields offer the chance to kayak, canoe, and raft during mid-spring to mid-summer.

Scuba Diving

The limpid coastal water of the Persian Gulf, which is the result of the coral coasts and islands, offers excellent opportunities for professional and amateur scuba divers.


The vast difference in the temperatures of the mountain ranges, deserts, vast fields, and low plains near the equator, make it possible to do trekking during all the seasons in Iran.


Dizin ski resort


Dizin is a ski resort situated to the north of Tehran in the Alborz mountain range.

It is considered as the most important ski resort in iran and the middle East.

Mountaineering and Monuntain Climbing


The long stretch of mountain ranges with peak altitudes of over 4,000m, and the other mountains of Alam Kuh (4,850), and the volcanic peaks of Sabalan (4,811m) and Damavand (5,671m) provide the main attractions for foreign mountain climbers.


Dessert Safari


Pure silence, absolute pease, contrasting brown and white salty Land, and innumerable stars in the vivid desert sky are some of the remarkable characteristics of the Irainian deserts.

The deserts types consist of swampy, salty, clay, gravel, and running sands.

Taking a stroll within these vast spaces, watching the wonders of the moving sands, the buring and dry salt marshes, historical monuments, brick colored buildings of simple and harsh styles, shadows of scattered village, as well as the old ancient inns and caravansaries are charming and worth visiting for every tourist.

For this purpose, Yazd Province is the best choice.

The Yazd –bafq route runs along the ancient Fahraj Mosque on the fringes of the desert , spread to the limits of Bafq. En route are the tamarisk forests, and the beautiful Ahan Shahr Park, extending over 20 hectares which appears at the end of this route .

The other route is Yazd-khanaraq-Bayazeh which continues to Khoor and Biyabanek.

Along this route one can see domeshaped sandly hills, covered by desert buches.

All through the route there are ancient and beautiful inns with arched windows and unique architecture, the most noteworthy of which is the military castle of Bayazeh which is placed beside the beautiful gardens of Khoor Biabanak village. Another site to visit is the ancient olive tree which is over a thousand years old.

Yazd province boats of many fantastic deserts, the most important ones being Ardekan Desert, Daranjir Desert area.


The Caspian Coast

Caspian Sea, the Largest Landlocked Lake in the world, is located in northern Iran. The Iranian Caspian coast including the three littoral provinces of Gilan, Golestan and Mazandaran, with their thick forests and large scale rice paddies present a striking contrast to the dry inner plateau of Iran.

A four-hour drive from Tehran, the Caspian is Iran’s Riviera, with a narrow plain of paddy fields and orchards separating the sea from forested mountains where bears and leopards roam around ruined Mongol castles.

There are several roads connecting Tehran to the three provinces, all through breathtakingly beautiful scenery, across the mountains or alongside rivers such as the world renowned “Chalous Road” winding north across the rugged Alborz mountains to reach the Caspian Coast.

With their tropical climate in summer and mild winters, beautiful sandy beaches, scenic beauty and proximity to the capital the three provinces are very popular among Iranians as a holiday and weekend resort. Numerous holiday and residential complexes, private villas, leisure facilities and holiday homes dot the landscape.


Other Iranian National Parks and Natural Reserves:


Sisangan National Park, the Hara Forests near Qeshm Island in southern Iran, Kharturan National Park, Wildlife Refuge and Biosphere Reserve, Naybandan wildlife Refuge, Bafq Protected Area, Dar-e Anjir Wildlife Refuge, Oshtoran Mountain Protected Area, Hamoon Wetlands, Tandooreh National Park, Hara Protected Area, Gano Protected Area, Lar Protected Area, Central Alborz Protected Area, khojir and Sorkhe Hesar National Park, Bakhtegan National Park Anzali Lagoon, Port Anzali of the Caspian sea, Arasbaran Protected Area, Arjan Protected Area, Lake Urmia National Park, Miankaleh Protected Area, Touran Protected Area, Nazhvan Suburban National Park near Bamoo National Park near Park near Shiraz.