The development of tourism throughout the world, and its ever-increasing economic importance has paved the way for the development of rural tourism and its impact on the rural development. Initially, this concept took shape by the development of urbanization, the rapid growth of transportation system, rising families’ incomes, and more attention paid to the way of spending leisure time in the country in the big cities and villages around them. First, Iran enjoys a great variety of cultural, historical and natural attractions, and is ranked high among the countries of the world in terms of capabilities. Furthermore villagers account for 30% of the total population of the country, and the revenues from the agricultural sector are not sufficient for creating the job opportunities and the income needed for the villagers. Therefore, working on is essential to provide the ground for social and economic development in rural areas. In order to explain the role of tourism in rural development, a comprehensive study has been carried out on the Moridan area and the factors contributing to this development have been evaluated. Finally, considering the capabilities, facilities and limitations in the region, an appropriate method was proposed.
The research method is descriptive-analytic and the information was collected through library studies. The information and statistics related to the government departments were obtained from them and the field studies were carried out through questionnaires and interviews. People needed for selecting the target population of the research were chosen for interview, using the Cochran’s formula (with 95% of sample volume n=38) and from among 318 habitants of 11 villages and 20 families in order to increase its capability of generalizability using the descriptive and inferential statistics obtained from the research. Therefore, the collected data were entered into the periodic table and the standard deviation was determined using descriptive statistics, for all cases.
The village of Moridan is located near the county of Langroud. The study on the social, economic and natural structure of the region shows that agriculture, gardening and stock raising are among the most fundamental economic activities in the region, which is not able to meet the needs of local people on its own. Concerning the geography of the region and taking different aspects into account, tourism is considered to be the safest and most effective economic activity for the villages of the region. The following process was pursued in performing this research regarding the economic impacts of tourism in the region and to realize its objectives: 318 people were asked to fill out the questionnaires. 148 of those people had an average age of 45-65, which is considered the largest group, accounting for 46.7% of the total number of interviewees. Interviewees over the age of 65 account for the least number among the different groups. 33% of the interviewees were government’s employees, and 58% were self-employed. The education level of most of the interviewees was under high school diploma and about 35% of them had university degrees. Two significant economic variables were considered in performing the research, namely, the creation of job opportunities and the amount of income. In the studies done on the created job opportunities, directly or indirectly, as the result of tourism industry growth, the number of the region’s tourists and the number of the jobs created were directly proportional to each other and, regarding the impact of tourism development on the number of the jobs in the region, the opinions of the majority of the interviewees were positive (x=4.8) (very high). This issue was quite obvious, especially due to the number of villas and towns in the region (x=4.7) and, has also had a significant impact relating the role of development. 4.49% of respondents had positive opinions on the creation of new jobs and its impact on preventing the migration of young people to large cities, which is a remarkable percentage.
Regarding the increase in the average family income, the interviewees confirmed its positive impact (x=4.42). Considering the increase in the average family income due to investing in construction, as well as the provision and distribution of construction materials in the region, and finally, tourism development, families have emphasized on the positive and key role of tourism in mass construction and consequently, the job opportunities. These opportunities include engineers, construction workers, masons, construction material workers, architects, etc. Considering the increase in family income, the provision of some rural items and handicrafts for tourists, tourists have emphasized the sale of rural products, handicrafts and dairy products to tourists, which represent the increase in the families’ income (x=4.41). Regarding the positive role of tourism, most respondents have also emphasized on the increase of the families’ income (x=4.55). The results also indicate that the growth of the capital owned by families is through the sale of their lands (x 4.55). Overall, the findings of the research show that, tourism has a positive economic impact on the rural regions of interest and are also the basis for the proper growth of agriculture and stock raising in the region, and this is in close relation with the rapid growth of the activities related to tourism in the villages. Tourism has proven to be an appropriate means of growth and can help improve the quality of life, create job opportunities and increase the income of families. Planning for performing tourism activities through enacting rules and regulations can help promote the region’s economy. The realization of the aforementioned objectives is subject to the provision of proposals in the form of short and long-term plans.