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Open AccessArticle

Employing Ecotourism Opportunities for Sustainability in the Aral Sea Region: Prospects and Challenges

1
Faculty of Tourism and Economics, Urgench State University, Urgench 220100, Uzbekistan
2
Faculty of Hospitality Management, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth BH12 5BB, UK
3
School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
4
Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219249
Received: 19 October 2020 / Revised: 1 November 2020 / Accepted: 5 November 2020 / Published: 6 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rural Development through Entrepreneurship and Innovation)
The paper examines ecotourism in the Aral Sea region of Uzbekistan, an area with a fragile environment that has faced ecological crises and requires careful sustainable development. It looks at the supply side of ecotourism by examining Uzbekistani tour operators’ awareness of benefits derivable from promoting ecotourism in the region, and the local tourism industry’s motives to engage in this development. As a research methodology, the results of an exploratory survey of travel agents and tour operators highlight the policy-making and management interventions required for the more effective promotion and development of ecotourism in the Aral Sea region. The paper analyzes the challenges and opportunities associated with promoting ecotourism activities in the Aral Sea region in pursuit of sustainable regional development, improved livelihood for the local population, employment opportunity and income source creation, and enriched service exports. Key findings from the study show that stakeholders are aware of ecotourism’s value and are motivated to implement ecotourism in the region, but they have limited experience, competence, and international networks to promote and market ecotourism products and services. Local stakeholders have raised the issue that infrastructure development and access to microfinance are their greatest needs from local authorities in Uzbekistan. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecotourism; sustainable development; Aral Sea region; explorative study ecotourism; sustainable development; Aral Sea region; explorative study
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MDPI and ACS Style

Saidmamatov, O.; Matyakubov, U.; Rudenko, I.; Filimonau, V.; Day, J.; Luthe, T. Employing Ecotourism Opportunities for Sustainability in the Aral Sea Region: Prospects and Challenges. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9249. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219249

AMA Style

Saidmamatov O, Matyakubov U, Rudenko I, Filimonau V, Day J, Luthe T. Employing Ecotourism Opportunities for Sustainability in the Aral Sea Region: Prospects and Challenges. Sustainability. 2020; 12(21):9249. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219249

Chicago/Turabian Style

Saidmamatov, Olimjon; Matyakubov, Umidjon; Rudenko, Inna; Filimonau, Viachaslau; Day, Jonathon; Luthe, Tobias. 2020. "Employing Ecotourism Opportunities for Sustainability in the Aral Sea Region: Prospects and Challenges" Sustainability 12, no. 21: 9249. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219249

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