Ecotourism Overlooked

Ecotourism OverlookedEcotourism Overlooked

Iran ranks fifth in the world in terms of ecotourism and Khorasan Razavi with its great potential for ecotourism could be one of the main proponents.

Unfortunately, however, this potential has been neglected and no travel agency includes the province’s natural sites in their packages offered to tourists, said the founder of Persian Gulf Tourism and Hotelier Institute in Mashhad, Mohammad Javad Hafezi, ISNA reported.

Hafezi named Nishabur (also known as Nishapur), Kalat-e Naderi, Akhlamad waterfall, and more importantly Bazangan Lake as case in point of the province’s major eco-touristic destinations.

 He complained why these places, particularly the lake with the spectacular landscape and vegetation, has never been visited by the millions traveling to Mashhad every year.

“Ecotourism means responsible traveling,” he said.

He further added that there are 285 tour and travel agencies in Mashhad and if only 100 targeted ecotourism, it would create a boom in the industry and the province.

The institute founder, who is also a university professor at Pardisan College for the hospitality industry, asserted that the entire blame should not be apportioned to travel agencies, rather a big part of the problem is the lack of knowledge and awareness of tour organizers and travelers about the concept of ecotourism and its destinations.

As an ecotourism expert, he called for collaboration of the media and the private sector with Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) in expanding this type of tourism and raising public awareness specifically of environmental aspects of the issue.

Feeding wild animals while traveling to natural sites is a major issue among visitors who want to be friendly to the wildlife but unknowingly cause harm, as food not naturally in the animal’s diet makes them vulnerable to health problems, Hafezi noted.

He pointed to littering of natural sites and leaving plastics and other non-biodegradable waste in natural areas other examples of irreparable damage to the ecosystem and wildlife.


Bazangan Lake or Kal Bibi, the only lake in Khorasan Razavi Province, is located 80 km away from Sarakhs and 130 km from Mashhad.

It covers an area of 80 hectares and is 12 meters deep in its deepest point.

Bazangan is considered one of the main places to breed trout, and hosts many migrating birds in different seasons of the year.

With the correct infrastructure, it has the potential to attract many tourists.

The lake’s water is supplied from annual rainfall and small underground fountains.

The beautiful and still intact scenery is under threat in recent years by drought and by overuse of the water by local farmers. Abnormal and excessive growth of algae in the water is another cause that furthers the process of drying out the water.  It is of utmost importance that this issue is tackled by the authorities.