Rural Tourism Development in Guilan: A Grounded Theory Study (Case Study: Rahmatabad and Blukat District in Rudbar County)

Document Type : Original Article


1 University of Sistan and Baluchestan

2 University of Lorestan


Purpose- Rural tourism, in the perspective of developed economies, is considered as a context-based experience that has a broad range of attractions. Also, it can increase the opportunities to provide services to local communities. Thus, their maintenance has become an integral part of the rural economy. In this regard, the study explored the understanding of rural tourism development in Rudbar County, Guilan province.
Design/methodology/approach- This study, in terms of goal is applied-developmental, in terms of paradigm is qualitative, and in terms of method is a grounded theory which is based on an inductive approach. The statistical population consisted of two groups of key rural informants and tourists of Rudbar County. Using a purposive sampling, 18 people were selected by snowball method and data were collected applying in-depth and semi-structured interviews, reaching saturation. To analyze the narratives, three stages of open, axial and selective coding method were used.
Findings- Findings showed that the vital commodities of rural tourism in Rudbar are the supply of a mixture of tourism approaches such as ecotourism, agrotourism and participatory approaches such as the view of scenic byways. In the elevated villages near Darfak peak, the commodities are long hiking or cycling alongside Sefidrood River as well as heritage areas. Also, in the development of rural tourism in the study area, the categories of products of the destination, space opportunities of the destination, infrastructure of the destination, cultural support and beliefs of the destination, responsible participation of the destination, cultural acceptance of the destination, marketing for the destination, human capital of the destination, employment in the destination were important. The most important category (core category) was known as "tourism product development policy".
Research limitations/implications- Lack of proper access to infrastructures such as mobile coverage accessibility, Internet and accommodation opportunities, frequent cut-offs of tap water in some villages for long hours, and access to tourists and key local informants were among the problems in the way of this study.
Practical implications- In order to achieve the development of rural tourism, it is suggested that special attention be paid to the development policy of Guilan tourism product supply in different dimensions. Since most of the incoming tourists to Guilan are nature tourists, increasing the village's service such as improving mobile and Internet access, improving the village's water and electricity quality, travel agency offices and active tour operators in the villages, automobile repair shops, local food restaurants and eco-resorts are vital.
Originality / Value- A grounded theory systematically examines phenomena in their natural state in the form of regular steps. In this method, generalization is not the purpose. Instead, the goal is to understand the phenomenon and its various dimensions.


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