Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 623–646 | Cite as

Assessment of ecotourism potentiality in GHNPCA, Himachal Pradesh, India, using remote sensing, GIS and MCDA techniques

  • Nemai Sahani
Spatial Analysis and Modeling


The present study focuses on the identification of potential ecotourism site using remote sensing, geographical information system and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) techniques in Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (GHNPCA), Himachal Pradesh, India. This research incorporates 12 thematic layers, i.e. slope, topographic roughness, vegetation, surface water accessibility, groundwater, elevation, visibility of snow peak, proximity to villages, trekking route, climatic suitability, habitat suitability and lake proximity. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) among different MCDA techniques was used to determine the weights of various themes to identify different ecotourism potential zones. The research concluded that the southwestern and central parts of the Great Himalayan Area (GHNPCA) have high to very high ecotourism potentiality which incorporates the eco-development zone, Tirthan Wildlife Sanctuary and Sainj Wildlife Sanctuary and mid-western part of Great Himalayan National Park. Finally, a total of 77 ecotourism potential sites have been identified within very high potential zone.


Ecotourism potentiality Remote sensing GIS Analytical hierarchy process MCDA 



  1. Adiat KA, Nawawi MNM, Abdullah K (2012) Assessing the accuracy of GIS based elementary multi criteria decision analysis as a spatial prediction tool—a case of predicting potential zones of sustainable groundwater resources. J Hydrol 440:75–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmadi M, Asgari S, Ghanavati E (2015) Land capability evaluation for ecotourism development in Ilam Province, a GIS approach. BolCiênc Geod Sec Artigos Curitiba 21(1):107–125Google Scholar
  3. Akbarzadeh M, Kafaki S, Shahrokhi S, Kouhgardi E (2011) Environment evaluation for ecotourism development using GIS in Arasbaran area, Iran. In: International conference on Asia agriculture and animal, IPCBEE, 13, ACSIT Press, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  4. Armstrong M (1994) Requirement for the development of GIS based group discussion support system. Am Soc Inf Sci 45(9):669–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arrowsmith C, Inbakaran R (2002) Estimating environmental resiliency for the Grampian Park, Victoria, Australia: a quantitative approach. Tour Manag 23:295–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Aveling R, Wilson R (1992) Tourism in the habitat of the great apes-costs and benefits. In: Paper presented at the fourth World Congress on National Parks and Protected areas, Caracas, Venezuela, February 10–21, p 8Google Scholar
  7. Banai R (1993) Fuzziness in geographic information systems: contributions from the analytic hierarchy process. Int J Geogr Inf Syst 7:315–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bansal SP, Kumar J (2011) Ecotourism for community development: a stakeholder’s perspective in Great Himalayan National Park. Int J Soc Ecol Sustain Dev 2(2):31–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blamey RK (1997) Ecotourism: the search for an operational definition. J Sustain Tourism 5(2):109–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blamey RK (1995) The nature of ecotourism. BTR Occasional Paper No. 21, Bureau of Tourism Research, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  11. Blamey RK (1995) Profiling the ecotourism market. In: The ecotourism association of Australia national conference taking the next steps, Alice SpringsGoogle Scholar
  12. Boo E (1990) Ecotourism: the potential and pitfalls. World Wildlife Fund, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Boyd SW, Butler R (1996) Managing ecotourism: an opportunity spectrum approach. Tour Manag 17:557–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bozorgnia D, Oladi J, Manoochehri M (2010) Evaluating the ecotourism potentials of Naharkhoran area in Gorgan using remote sensing and geographic information system. In: International archives of the photogrammetry, remote sensing and spatial information science, vol 38(8), Kyoto, JapanGoogle Scholar
  15. Bunruamkaew K, Murayama Y (2011a) Site suitability evaluation for ecotourism using GIS and AHP: a case study of Surat Thani Province, Thailand. Proced Soc Behav Sci 21:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bunruamkaew K, Murayama Y (2011b) Site suitability evaluation for ecotourism using GIS & AHP: a case study of Surat Thani province, Thailand. Proced Soc Behav Sci 2:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Burton R (1997) The sustainability of ecotourism. In: Stabler MJ (ed) Tourism and sustainability: principles to practice CAB international. Wallingford, UKGoogle Scholar
  18. Carver SJ (1991) Integrating multi-criteria evaluation with geographical information systems. Int J Geogr Inf Syst 5(3):321–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dalalah D, Faris A, Mohammed H (2010) Application of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) in multi-criteria analysis of the selection of cranes. Jordan J Mech Ind Eng (JJMIE) 4(5):567–578Google Scholar
  20. Dashti S, Masoud M, Hosseini SM, Riazi B, Momeni M (2013) Application of GIS, AHP, fuzzy and WLC in island ecotourism development—case study of Qeshm Island, Iran. Life Sci J 10:1274–1282Google Scholar
  21. Dixon JA, Scura LF, Van’t Hof T (1993) Meeting ecological and economic goals: marine parks in the Caribbean. Ambio 22:117–125Google Scholar
  22. Dowling RK (1995a) Ecotourism and development: partners and progress. In: Paper presented in the national regional tourism conference, Launceston, Tasmania, AugustGoogle Scholar
  23. Dowling RK (1995b) Regional ecotourism development plans: theory and practice. In: Paper presented in the regional symposium of the geography of sustainable tourism in Australia, New Zealand, South-West Pacific and South-East Asia. Canberra, Australia, SeptemberGoogle Scholar
  24. Dudly N, Birksham G, Jackson B, Jeanrennaud JP, Oviedo G, Phillips A, Rosabel P, Stolton S, Wells S (1999) Challenges for protected areas in the 21st century. In: Hewlett D, Edwards J (2013) Beyond prescription: community engagement in the planning and management of National Parks as tourist destinations. Tourism Planning and Development 10(1):45–63Google Scholar
  25. Edward SF (1991) The demand for Galapagos vacations: estimation and application to wilderness preservation. Coast Manag 19:155–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Farver T (2002) Indigenous and local communities and protected area: rethinking the relationship. Parks 12(2):5–15Google Scholar
  27. Gillenwater D, Granata T, Zikab U (2006) GIS-based modeling of spawning habitat suitability for walleye in the Sandusky River, Ohio, and implications for dam removal and river restoration. Ecol Eng 28:311–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gourabi BR, Rad TG (2013) The analysis of ecotourism potential in Boujagh wetland with AHP method. Life Sci J 10(2s):251–258Google Scholar
  29. Gul AM, Orucu K, Oznur K (2006) An approach for recreation suitability analysis to recreation planning in Golchuk Nature Park. J Environ Manag 1:606–625CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Honey M (1999) Ecotourism and sustainable development: who owns paradise?. Island Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  31. Hvenegaard GT (1994) Ecotourism: a status report and conceptual framework. J Tour Stud 5(2):155–165Google Scholar
  32. Jenness JS (2004) Calculating landscape surface area from digital elevation models. Wildl Soc Bull 32(3):829–839CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jha MK, Chowdary VM, Chowdhury A (2010) Groundwater assessment in Salboni Block, West Bengal (India) using remote sensing, geographical information system and multi-criteria decision analysis techniques. Hydrogeol J 18:1713–1728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kalogirou S (2002) Expert systems and GIS: an application of land suitability evaluation. Comput Environ Urban Syst 26:89–112. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kumari S, Behera MD, Tewari HR (2010) Identification of potential ecotourism sites in West District, Sikkim. Trop Ecol 51(1):75–85Google Scholar
  36. Lillesand RM, Kiefer RW (2004) Remote sensing and image interpretation, 5th edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  37. Lindberg K (1991) Policies to maximizing nature tourism’s ecological and economic benefits. World Resources Institute, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  38. Mahdavi A, Niknejad M (2014) Site suitability evaluation for ecotourism using MCDM methods and GIS: Case study-Lorestan province, Iran. J Biodivers Environ Sci 4(6):425–437Google Scholar
  39. Malczewski J (1999) GIS and multicriteria decision analysis. Wiley, New York, pp 177–192Google Scholar
  40. Malczewski J (2004) GIS based landuse suitability analysis: a critical overview. Prog Plan 28(13):4449–4466. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mirsanjari MM, Angali KA, Dhumal KN, Gavali RS (2008) Importance of lakes potential for development of ecotourism in Pune district. In: Sengupta M, Dalwani R (eds) (2008) Proceedings of Taal 2007: the 12th world lake conference, pp 1186–1196Google Scholar
  42. Naithani S, Mathur VB (1998) Long term monitoring of landuse/landcover through remote sensing and geographical information system in Great Himalayan National Park, Himachal Pradesh. FREEP GHNP Research Project Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra DunGoogle Scholar
  43. Obua J (1997) The potential, development and ecological impact of ecotourism in Kibale National Park, Uganda. J Environ Manag 50:27–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Page SJ, Dowling RK (2002) Themes in tourism. Pearson Education Limited, HarlowGoogle Scholar
  45. Pandey S (2008) Linking ecodevelopment and biodiversity conservation at the Great Himalayan National Park, India: lessons learned. Biodivers Conserv. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Razandi Y, Pourghasemi HR, Samani N, Rahmati NO (2015) Application of analytical hierarchy process, frequency ratio, and certainty factor models for groundwater potential mapping using GIS. Earth Sci Inf 8(4):867–883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Riley SJ, DeGloria SD, Elliot R (1999) A terrain ruggedness index that quantifies topographic heterogeneity. Intermt J Sci 5(1–4):1999Google Scholar
  48. Ross S, Wall G (1999a) Ecotourism: towards congruence between theory and practice. Tour Manag 20(1):123–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ross S, Wall G (1999b) Evaluating eco-tourism: the case of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Tour Manag 20:673–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Saaty TL (1980) The analytic hierarchy process: planning, priority setting, resource allocation. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  51. Saaty TL (1999) Fundamentals of the analytic network process. In: International symposium of the analytic hierarchy process (ISAHP), Kobe, JapanGoogle Scholar
  52. Sano JD (1997) Promoting biological and cultural diversity through ecotourism. In: Paper presented in international symposium on public environmental awareness and ecotourism. Sichuan, China, JuneGoogle Scholar
  53. Tsaur SH, Lin YC, Lin JH (2006) Evaluating ecotourism sustainability from the integrated perspective of resource, community and tourism. Tour Manag 27:640–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Umar Z, Pradhan B, Ahmad A, Jebur MN, Tehrany MS (2014) Earthquake induced landslide susceptibility mapping using an integrated ensemble frequency ratio and logistic regression models in West Sumatera Province, Indonesia. CATENA 118:124–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wall G (1997) Is ecotourism sustainable? Environ Manag 21(4):483–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wallace DR, Pierce MS (1996) An evaluation of ecotourism in Amazonas, Brazil. Ann Tour Res 23(4):843–873CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Western D (1993) Defining ecotourism. Application of GIS, AHP, fuzzy and WLC in island ecotourism development: case study of Qeshm Island, Iran. Life Sci J 10:12–74Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japan Section of the Regional Science Association International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BolpurIndia

Personalised recommendations