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Javad Madani, Ismail Taghavi Zirvani,
Volume 11, Issue 40 (summer 2022)

The tourism industry has been promoted as a common strategy for the development and reinvention of rural areas, especially in rural areas that have been severely affected by the decline of traditional agriculture. Tourism in rural areas is considered an accelerator of growing economies in both developing and developed economies. The social and economic impacts of rural tourism on individuals and society have been considered important, especially in less developed countries. The development of rural tourism in areas with rich biodiversity has helped local communities achieve their goal of improving livelihoods. Also, rural tourism has helped the local community to increase their income and increase their livelihood significantly. Although the economic benefits of tourism are well accepted, measuring the economic impact of rural tourism on rural areas is often ambiguous, as different approaches provide different results. Therefore, it is important to consider the effects of rural tourism on rural development both economically and in other dimensions. Assessment of the success of rural tourism initiatives that aim to benefit local communities, as well as rural environments, has always been a challenge. Many researchers and scholars of economics and tourism believe that the diversity of key drivers of rural tourism for improving the livelihood of rural households is due to geographical location and subsequent conditions. However, geographical conditions are necessary for the ensuing decisions. Therefore, in this research, the main goal is to identify and prioritize the key drivers of rural tourism in improving the livelihood of rural households. This study considers the potential of rural tourism as a tool to promote and improve rural households' livelihood. 

The current research is an applied study in terms of its purpose, and the research method used is a mixed method. The research design is exploratory sequential that analyses the qualitative information and then quantitative data. In this research, in the first phase, the qualitative method of thematic analysis was used, and in the second phase, the quantitative survey method was used. In the qualitative phase, the relevant codes were obtained from the semi-structured interviews. The codes were converted into basic themes by the thematic analysis method. In the second phase, these items were prioritized by a quantitative survey method. Thematic analysis analyzes textual data manually through several steps, including data identification, creating initial codes, searching for themes among codes, and reviewing and naming themes. We applied the Attride-Stirling(2001) approach, and the extracted themes were categorized into three "basic, organizing and global" themes. 

Discussion and conclusion
According to the findings of this study, the themes extracted from the semi-structured interviews are in the form of 58 basic themes, 19 organizing themes and four global themes. In analyzing the development of rural tourism, it is necessary to pay attention to economic, social, cultural, technological and political factors in order to determine their impact. This way provides measures for the further development of rural tourism. After performing the calculations, it was found that the infrastructure and technological factors have the greatest impact on the development of rural tourism. These factors consist of the development of public and health infrastructure, the increase of recreational facilities for the local community, the creation of high-quality recreational opportunities, and the creation of transportation infrastructure facilities. Although rural tourism has a positive effect on the rural household's livelihood, it may be difficult to rapidly increase the number of tourists to this area in the future because the area is far from the nearest metropolis and also a very competitive rural tourist market is located in Ardabil Province, especially the city of Sarein. This study concludes that public policies are necessary to strengthen basic infrastructure and facilities. The infrastructural and technological benefits of rural tourism include improving infrastructure, protecting these areas and providing the necessary facilities. The main nature of rural tourism development in improving the rural household's livelihood is to reduce the gap in regional development between cities and villages, which is done through career consultancy, improving the well-being of local people in their environment, ensuring optimal standards of quality of life and providing privileges to rural residents. In the present study, rural tourism in areas adjacent to Sarein City was positively and independently related to households' satisfaction with life. The development of rural tourism can also lead to cultural and social changes through development programs. Accordingly, social influences play an important role in tourism development because the host community, represented as local households, interact with tourists directly, and positive cultural influences help support future tourism programs. All in all, the drivers of rural tourism can have positive effects on the livelihood of rural households, including improving the quality of life, improving the economic situation, developing the infrastructure of villages, etc.

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