Background: One of the vital issues in promoting the sustainable tourism industry in developing countries, including Azerbaijan, is the well-grounded selection of tourism sites. Applying traditional approaches as a solution to this task, does not provide a relevant result in all cases in these countries due to local specifics of the tourism, the incompleteness of statistical data, the high-level uncertainty of the internal and external environment, and the questionable reliability of the available information. Methods: Since the statistical data are limited, and conventional formalization tools used for uncertainty description do not consider the reliability degree of the data, it is suggested to make decisions based on the Z-extension of fuzzy logic. A Delphi panel with the expert group is conducted to obtain the information required for the model development. Fuzzy Z-information-based TOPSIS and PROMETHEE methods are applied for the problem solution. Within these approaches Z-number-based procedures of the decision matrix normalization, defining the distance between solutions and the preference function, and swing weights determination are realized. Direct computations with Z-numbers are implemented. Results: By applying Z-number-based multi-criteria decision-making methods, five potential regions of Azerbaijan have been evaluated for six criteria. The criteria reflect government policy to the development of the regions, economical, geographical, environmental factors, and infrastructure of the locations. Derived solutions are comparable in sense of sites ranking, and similar results were obtained using both methods. Direct calculations allow obtaining results based on the linguistic Z-evaluations of experts without distorting transformations. Conclusion: The managerial decision-making problems in the tourism sector, raised due to the aforementioned barriers, can be successfully resolved by applying Z-number-based multi-criteria approaches. The obtained results allow increasing a range of the decision-making tasks under a high degree of uncertainty to be solved for sustainable development studies and other areas.
Keywords: Direct Calculations with Z-numbers; Normalization; Swing Weights; Tourism Site selection; Z-PROMETHEE; Z-TOPSIS; Z-number.
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