Volume 10, Issue 35 (Spring 2021 2021)                   2021, 10(35): 69-90 | Back to browse issues page

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Najafi kani A, Najafi K. Rural tourism capacity measurement and its role in the spatial and economic development in mountain areas Case study: villages in the central district of Damavand township. SPACE ECONOMY & RURAL DEVELOPMENT 2021; 10 (35) :69-90
URL: http://serd.khu.ac.ir/article-1-3669-en.html
1- Associate Professor of Geography Department. Golestan University, Gorgan, Iran , Alinajafi_1159@yahoo.com
2- Phd student of Geography and Rural Planning. Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran.
Abstract:   (2138 Views)
The tourism industry can provide a good platform for investment, and because of its less reliance on resources, provides an opportunity for less developed countries to stimulate their economic growth to increase production and create job opportunities. Meanwhile, the villages have very favorable and special conditions in accordance with their cultural, social, economic, geographical and natural structure. Today, tourists are interested in visiting farms, orchards, groves, springs, cultural and tourist landscapes in rural settlements. Therefore, planning to use them to develop rural tourism is inevitable. Undoubtedly, rural tourism is a reliable source in many developed and developing countries, which can have a significant impact on increasing the income of villagers. One of the biggest benefits of the rural tourism sector is to create income and increase wages, and consequently to improve the economic situation for the people who work there. Accordingly, the overall purpose of this study is to investigate the capacity of tourism development and provide solutions to develop tourism in mountainous villages near the metropolis of Tehran.
Damavand County is in Tehran Province, which has been selected as a typical tourism region of Iran. According to the 2016 census, its population is 125480 people. This county with an area of 1932 square kilometers, includes five districts named Damavand, Absard, Kilan, Rudehen and Abali, two districts including central and Rudehen and 111 villages. Its average height above sea level is 2300 meters.
The center of this county (Damavand city) is located 75 km away from Tehran and has an average height of 2051 meters and its population is 48380 people.
The central district of the county consists of three rural districts, Jam Abroud, (Absard city as capital), Abarshiveh Rural District, (Sarbandan village as the capital), and Tarrud Rural District, (Mara village as the capital), which overall have 87 villages.
Damavand mountainous and countryside county, with its many capabilities and diverse geographical landscapes, has potential and actual capabilities to attract tourists. Abali track, lakes such as Tar and Havir lakes, several waterfalls such as Tizab, Ayeneh Rud. Cheshmeh A'la and Roodafshan Cave and its numerous springs, beautiful gardens and farms, and a very pleasant climate are among its tourist attractions.
The most important attractions of this area attract many nature enthusiasts. For many years, it has been used by the public, especially the residents of the metropolis of Tehran, and many travelers travel from other areas, so comprehensive understanding, design, and proper management to develop tourism in this area is essential and inevitable. Accordingly, the present study, by examining and explaining the important factors of tourism development, tries to consider the welfare of present and future generations, improvement in the quality of life and finally improvement of economic and social welfare level and creating a healthy rural environment in the study area. According to the mentioned issues, the fundamental questions of the research are as follows:
  • What is the capacity of rural tourism in the studied villages?
  • What are the key strategies to solve tourism issues in rural areas?
Research Methodology
Research type is applied research and the research method is descriptive-analytical and field study. The statistical population of the present study is rural households living in the twelve studied villages that according to the 2016 census the population is equal to 14024 people and 3600 households, 15 questions in this research as tourism development capacity and 18 questions as possible challenges for tourism development. It was set in a five-level Likert item (very low, low, medium, high and very high). Tables 1 and 2 demonstrate the reliability of the research instrument using Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the studied components which were 79%, the sample size was 260 by using Cochran's formula and the number of samples was randomly simple/systematic after measuring, the generators were analyzed by using SPSS software and using a hierarchical cluster analysis method.

Discussion and Conclusions
The results of studies in the field of rural tourism show that tourism is an important factor in the occurrence of positive and negative changes in the economic, social and environmental fields at the local and regional levels. Although this activity can lead to the development of rural areas, it can have both adverse consequences. The results of the Friedman Test for measuring the tourism development capacity explain a significant difference at the 99% level with each other. Also, for the challenges of tourism development a significant and 95% difference between the investigated indices is observed. The results of the hierarchical cluster analysis test (neighborhood matrix calculations) Euclidean distance of each village is compared to the next village and based on this, the similarities and differences of the villages have been explained. Then, the clustering process is done in eleven stages, and the studied villages are classified into four categories in terms of tourism capacity. The first cluster villages (Moomej, Jaban Ayneh Varzan) and the second cluster villages (Sarbandan, Zan, Seyyedabad, Havir, Dehnar and Shalambeh) have the most tourism development capacity respectively. Although the third cluster village (Vadan) and the fourth cluster villages (Sorkh Deh and Hashemak) have many tourist attractions compared to the first and second cluster villages, they have lower tourism development capacity. The studied villages are also divided into four categories in terms of the challenges of tourism development. The first cluster village (Moomej village) and the second cluster villages (Jaban, Sarbandan, Vadan, Zan, Ayneh Varzan, Seyyedabad, and Dehnar) have the most challenges in tourism development, respectively. However, the villages of the third cluster (Havir and Shalambeh) and the villages of the fourth cluster (Sorkh Deh and Hashemak) have the least challenges respectively. It can be concluded that while some villages have a high tourism potential based on studied indicators, some of them are also more vulnerable. Therefore, the endeavor of all local managers and officials towards the comprehensive management of rural tourism development is essential and inevitable.
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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2021/06/15 | Accepted: 2021/04/30

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