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Abstract

Lake Urmia is the largest lake inside Iran, one of the most important salt lakes in the world and one of the saturated salt lakes in the world. It is similar to the Great Salt Lake in the United States and the Dead Seain Jordan. Having beautiful beaches and many tourist islands, a place with water sports such as swimming, boating and skiing became this lake to a beautiful place and tourist attraction. The purposeof this studyisestimating therecreational value ofLake Urmia. For estimating recreation function the contingent valuation method (single bounded dichotomous choice) was considered and a logitmodelwas usedtoestimate thewillingness to pay. Datawerecollectedusing questionnaire in Azerbaijan province. The results showed that recreational willingness to pay for each visit was 0.48 dollars annually. With regards to the numberof visitors from Lake Urmia,recreational value of thelakewasestimated at 756000 dollars in a year. Preservation of the lakecanplayan important rolein attracting domestic and foreign tourists. Considering sustainable development goals of the country, this lake could also create economic benefits, business expansion and employment in the region.

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