An Analysis on Development Challenges of Cultural Tourism in Rural Areas (Case Study: Binaloud County)

Document Type : علمی


1 Ferdowsi University of Mashhad

2 Lamerd Branch, Islamic Azad University


Extended Abstract
Today, tourism compared with other economic sections has many advantages for local communities so that it has been discussed as an economic panacea that lifts viability in remote areas, stimulates revitalization of settlements, improves the living conditions of rural communities, and is the catalyst for economic and social reconstruction of rural areas. Cultural tourism is one of the models of tourism in rural areas. At present, most of rural areas of the country have cultural richness, historical background, and valuable historical and cultural monuments. Specific properties of rural communities such as local habits, customs related to food and clothing, architecture, historical monuments, music, art, and local languages etc. are considered as hidden cultural capacities in rural communities that can benefit them well in tourism. Unfortunately, despite cultural richness and diversity of rural areas of Binalood, this kind of tourism did not have appropriate development. However, Binalood has historical and natural link with Toos and Mashhad and regarding cultural and historical heritage, it is an inseparable part of the old civilization of Toos and Mashhad. Lack of attention sometimes leads to corrosion and decline of cultural properties (theft, use changing, destruction, etc.). In order to improve and develop cultural tourism in rural areas there is an increasing need to identify challenges of cultural tourism in respect to conditions and properties of the province. Thus, this study aims to address the following research question.
Q: What are the main development challenges of cultural tourism in rural areas?"
Studies show that culture has a distinct role in tourism activities, especially, in rural areas. Customs, habits, and local identity are resources that tourists want to experience. In this kind of tourism, the traditional culture originating from the distant past attracts many tourists in rural areas that still have cultural authenticity. It means that some writers consider culture as the cornerstone of tourism development. In a report by Europe Travel Committee in 2005, two external and internal issues of cultural tourism have been spoken about; internal area includes the first element of cultural tourism and can be divided into two sectors, namely, historical monuments tourism, and art tourism. External area includes the secondary elements of cultural tourism and can be divided into two parts. Lifestyle and creative industries are generally studied in two axes; the first axis of tourism is related to cultural heritage of a place. In this view, the historical dimension of a community is important while in the second axis the present time and current culture of a community is the target.
This study is an applied developmental research with a descriptive-analytic method. Data collection is based on documentation and field study. Challenges facing tourism development in rural areas were identified and were prepared in form of questionnaires. They were given to 40 authorities and experts of Cultural Heritage, Handcraft, and Tourism Organization. They were also given to 30 local elites in potential villages to provide perspectives. Due to the high number of identified challenges and unknown relationships between them, in this study we used exploratory factor analysis test which is a mathematical method for data reduction.
The aim of this study is to analyze the factors for detecting unobservable factors based on a set of observable variables. In this study, five main unobservable factors were identified from a linear combination of 18 observable variables. Management challenges are the most significant challenges identified in the field of cultural tourism in Binalood. This factor which was detected by 5 observable variables with high correlation coefficient, explains 36% of variance by itself. Marketing and advertising weakness in cultural tourism, concentrating on ecotourism and unimportant role of cultural tourism in tourism development plans, and threatening historical attractions by constructions, etc. are issues of a more fundamental factor called management challenges. Then, 10.9 percent of explained variance are planning challenges, 8.9 percent are regulatory challenges, 6.8 percent are ultra-structural challenges, and finally, 6.8 percent are legislation challenges of explained variance.
5- Conclusion
Today, visiting cultural resources is one of the largest and fastest growing parts of tourism industry. Studies show that the optimal model for tourism development in Iran is cultural tourism due to cultural background and high volume of cultural tourists in the world. The most significant challenges detected in this study are management challenges. In management challenges, weakness in marketing and advertising of cultural tourism and not introducing cultural tourism attractions with a correlation coefficient of 0.82 are two priorities. In planning challenges, the low arrivals of tourists for cultural attractions of the province and the small number of tourists with a correlation coefficient of 0.81, in regulatory challenges, the tendency to mass production of handcraft and not having the control of it by native people and developing by nonnative manufacturers with a correlation coefficient of 0.82, in ultra-structural challenges, inappropriate distribution of tourists during the year and tourists' focus on particular days of the year with a correlation coefficient of 0.81, and in legislation challenges, the weakness of laws and regulations in investment and unclear laws of attracting investment in cultural tourism with a correlation coefficient of 0.81 are the first priorities in each section. Given the detection of main challenges in tourism development, it is possible to make a plan in order to eliminate the existing challenges and pave the way for cultural tourism development. For this purpose, it is necessary to make a comprehensive long term plan of cultural tourism for Binaloud county.


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