Evaluation of tourism sustainability in the Hyrcanian region of northern Iran using holiday climate index

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Forestry and Forest Economics, Faculty of Natural Resources, University of Tehran, Karaj, Iran


Tourism as a major global industry is affected directly and indirectly by climate change. The aims of this study were (i) to introduce the most suitable months for tourism activity using the holiday climate index (HCI), and (ii) to investigate the HCI trend during the period 1989-1397 in the Hyrcanian region of northern Iran. HCI consisting of climatic variables of temperature relative humidity, cloudiness, precipitation, and wind speed was calculated and classified for the synoptic meteorological stations of Astara, Anzali, Rasht, Ramsar, Nowshahr, Babolsar, and Gorgan in the 30-year period. The HCI trending was investigated by Mann-Kendall (MK) test. Throughout the Hyrcanian region, the average HCI value was found to be 48 (low class), ranging from 29 (unacceptable class) in Astara in January to 74 (acceptable class) in Babolsar in May. Forty eight percent of the monthly HCI values ​​were greater than 50 (acceptable class) while 12% were between 40 and 49. The most suitable months for tourism in the Hyrcanian region were from May to October. The MK test showed 13% of the 30-years HCI monthly trends in the meteorological stations were significant concluding that tourism in the region was less affected by climate change. The HCI is a worthy tool to introduce the most appropriate month for tourism in this attractive region of Iran with eye-catching views. Examining the HCI long-term trend can successfully reflect the impact of climate change on tourism sustainability.


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