Document Type : Original Article
Purpose- Rural tourism can be considered a country-related experience that includes a wide range of attractions and activities. They can be related to agriculture and might increase opportunities to provide services to local communities. In the same time, they can change the nature of geographical landscapes. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the feasibility of rural tourism development using the structural equation model in Gaikan Village of Aligudarz County.
Design/methodology/approach- This is applied study, in terms of purpose, and in terms of method, it is descriptive-analytical. To fulfill the purpose of the study, field study and survey were used. Using Cronbach's alpha test, the reliability for two feasibility components (attractions and capabilities of rural tourism, and obstacles and problems of rural tourism development), were 0.79 and 0.80, respectively, which indicates the good fit of the research tool. The statistical population consisted of three categories of experts, tourists and villagers (270 people in total: 13 experts, 129 tourists and 128 villagers) who were selected by simple random sampling. In order to analyze the data, exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modeling in SPSS20 and AMOS software were used.
Findings- The findings showed that the most important attractions and tourism capabilities of Gaikan Village are in four main categories: cultural and religious attractions, use of organic product, rural welfare facilities and services, and natural attractions. Also, the most important restrictions and obstacles of tourism development in this village are: lack of proper investment, avoidance of using agricultural products and related industries, ignorance of local people about the benefits of tourism, lack of amenities, and creating environmental pollution. The last one has a significant relation with tourist development.
Research limitations/implications- Lack of proper access to transportation infrastructure, roads, and accommodations in the area of Aligudarz County has created limitations for the development of tourism in the study area. Moreover, access to tourists and key informants of rural issues (statistical population of the study) was one of the problems in the research.
Practical implications- Due to the lack of transportation, accommodation, and public infrastructure in Gaikan Village, establishing the accommodations such as hotels as well as camps are suggested in the region.
Originality/value- The feasibility of tourism development can lead to understanding the tourism process in accordance with the local systems and finally, designing a suitable local model.