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examine the capabilities and limitation of agricultural tourism in the province of Gilan, with a sustainable development approach

examine the capabilities and limitation of agricultural tourism in the province of Gilan, with a sustainable development approach
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   Indian J.Sci.Res. 4 (6): 976-981, 2014 ISSN: 0976-2876 (Print) ISSN: 2250-0138(Online)   1 Corresponding author        A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t     A     b    s     t    r    a    c     t EXAMINE THE CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATION OF AGRICULTURAL TOURISM IN THE PROVINCE OF GILAN, WITH A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT APPROACH FARZANEH KHOOSHEBAST a1 , YASAMAN PARANDEH b  AND ARASH HOSHYAR  c ab Department of Tourism management of Maziar University, Iran c Department of Tourism Management in Azad University, Nishaboor, Iran   ABSTRACT   Agriculture tourism as a branch of rural tourism which is a new trend in the tourism industry is an important strategy in the cultural and environmental development and an important factor in economic diversifying for regions. This study has identified potential and limitation of agriculture tourism in Gilan and it has offered development strategies for this province. Therefore, using field studies and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT techniques), has provided strategies to promote agriculture tourism in the study area. SWOT analysis from the study area shows that despite having external and internal potential capacities, for utilization of agriculture tourism to development in rural area of province, Gilan requires planning and implementing appropriate strategies to meet the challenges, overcome the weakness and control threats. KEYWORDS : tourism, agriculture, sustainable development, Gilan, SWOT Diversifying the economy and increasing human development indicators and sustainable development is nowadays concerns facing the world. In the meantime countries which are diverted their abilities to economic diversification and want to redeem themselves of single economy are more successful than other communities (Shamsodini, 1389:96). Awareness of communities that tourism provides a significant source of income for a country, has made it as an important factor in economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects(Tahmasbi pasha and Majidi, 1384:65). In other words, tourism development, especially for developing countries with problems such as high unemployment and limited financial resources is a crucial importance (Sabbaghkermani and Amirian, 1379:11). Tourism is the only activity that can be combined with traditional agricultural activities, and crafts that are faced with reducing the employment, so this is a unique opportunity to revive economic activities in rural areas and leads the villagers to benefit from other income sources in addition to daily activities (Imani, 1388:6). Because of existing lots of rural areas in Iran with recession and high migration and also potential tourism capabilities, for offering implemental methods, it is necessary to assay combination of agriculture and tourism and diversification of rural economy in these regions (Javan and Saghaii, 1383). Gilan is a major tourism area in Iran where many of the population are rural. Existing especial opportunities for agriculture tourism, increases the necessity of planning and attention to this section. If agriculture tourism is developed in province, we will be face with new trends in the tourism industry development there. However, tourism development requires a management planning to prevent negative consequences arising from the development and increase positive economic, social and environmental impacts. This paper seeks to provide sustainable development strategies which are considered to sustainability. The qualitative method of SWOT analysis, in order to assess the capabilities and limitations of regional development, emphasizes to sustainability paradigm. METHODOLOGY This research is applied- developing in scope and the methodology is based on descriptive- analytical. For collecting information and data required, used of documentation and field studies to determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Finally the SWOT analysis matrix is used for data analysis and presentation of tourism development strategies in rural area of province. SWOT matrix is one of the appropriate techniques of analysis and planning that is used as new tools by planners and managers (Sharifzade, 1381:5). SWOT approach maximizes the system’s strength and opportunities, and minimizes the system’s weaknesses and threats by  preparing effective strategies (Piers and Robinson, 1388:155). This model is also one of the strategic tools to match the system’s strengths and weaknesses with external opportunities and threats to the system (Harrison and John, 1382:92).  KHOOSHEBAST ET AL.: EXAMINE THE CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATION OF AGRICULTURAL TOURISM IN THE..   Indian J.Sci.Res. 4 (6): 976-981, 2014   THEORETICAL AND EXPLANATION Agriculture tourism Rural areas are a suitable context for development of agricultural activities because of existing natural values and especial landscape (Salimzade ghulenji, 1391). Type of native crop, tools and facilities and general ways of planting and harvesting, usually are used by tourists as attractions of agricultural tourism destination for enjoying, leisure time and also education and researches aims. In general, agriculture tourism is using of farm and farmland as travel destination for educational and recreational purposes.  Notable cases included agricultural tourism are directly trade in the ground (to stop in the land for buying and  picking your product and buy it), farm tours, hunting, fishing, tasting food and drink made from agriculture  products, walking, driving agriculture machinery, grain  products and etc. agriculture tourism is an outstanding  product and diverse market for farmers that supplies cash flow for farmers who are faced with decline of agriculture  products benefit (Schilling et al, 2006:1).  Agriculture tourism, a sustainable development strategy Tourism is a way to achieve development in area with tourism potential. Sustainable development requires consideration of the sustainability factors. Agriculture tourism is a viable proposition for achieving sustainable development (figure 1) (Khooshebast and Tavassoli kalati, 1391). Figure 1: agriculture tourism, a sustainable evelopment strategy (Khooshebast and Tavassoli kalati, 1391) Case Study  Gilan is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It lies along the Caspian Sea, just west of the province of Mazandaran, east of the province of Ardabil, north of the  provinces of Zanjan and Qazvin. Gilan Province has a  population over 4/2 million peoples, which is about 3/3  percent of the total population of the country, and more than 43 percent of that are in rural parts of the  province(Gilan planning assistance, 1386, 58). Figure 2: Administrative divisions The region has a temperate climate, fertile alluvial soil, abundant rivers, vast and dense forests and natural  pastures are provided good conditions for farming. Gilan is in the first place for production and export crops such as tea, olives, hazelnuts and peanuts and also in the second  place in production of rice after Mazandaran province. The  province is active in fisheries and poultry, production of silk and also ornamental flowers (Joghini and Shakibaii, 1391). Province receives about 4 million seasonal  passengers annually due to climate and tourist attractions. The natural and tourism attractions of province include the Anzali lagoon with sea birds and lotus, and many large and small islands, Sefidrud River, Museum of Rasht, Historical Village, daily markets, the AqEuler, Gysm Beach, Asalem- Khalkhal Road and the resorts of mineral spring. The  province’s historical and religious attractions are bridges,  palaces, fortresses, mosques and many other attractions to attract tourists (The supreme secretariat of council for the development of non-oil exports).  KHOOSHEBAST ET AL.: EXAMINE THE CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATION OF AGRICULTURAL TOURISM IN THE..   Indian J.Sci.Res. 4 (6): 976-981, 2014   Identity of strength, weakness, opportunity and threat points Table 1: Matrix of Internal factors in the study area index strength weakness economic Being ready to invest in agriculture tourism sector, Diversification of service jobs in rural centers, Appropriate opportunities for the development of aquaculture and beekeeping, Good opportunities for boating, fishing and water sports. Many villages of Gilan province are unknown in tourism, Lack of willingness and ability to investment in tourism sector, Lack of funding, Sharp rise in land prices and housing, Transfer of agricultural land to construction. social Unique culture, customs, local festivities, clothes and crafts, A sense of cooperation and public Participation in tourism projects, Sense of hospitality, Cultural, religious and historical monuments, Rural residential accommodation for tourists, Construction and identification of Gilan’s Rural Heritage Museum as the first museum of Iran's agricultural heritage. Lack of infrastructure and public facilities such as water, electricity and gas networks, roads and other facilities in adequate recreational facilities,  Conflict and cultural differences between the host and guest, Lack of awareness on the important role of rural tourism in the economic empowerment. environmental Proximity to the sea, rivers, springs and pristine natural landscapes and good forest coverage,  Opportunities to rest and leisure, Soil and water resources for agriculture, Humid climate and rainfall, Varied agricultural products and fruit orchards, Famous and unique local products. Being unknown pristine rural areas for tourists. institutional Belief of rural authorities to employment and rural development through tourism and special attention to the agricultural sector Lack of specialists in rural, Lack of investment and serious planning in the tourism sector of agriculture, Unfamiliarity and lack of education in relation to development of agriculture tourism.  KHOOSHEBAST ET AL.: EXAMINE THE CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATION OF AGRICULTURAL TOURISM IN THE..   Indian J.Sci.Res. 4 (6): 976-981, 2014   Table 2: Matrix of external factors in the study area index opportunity Threat economic Increase government attention to  planning in the tourism sector, Increase private sector attention to invest in tourism sector, Motivate the community to actualize the potential regional talents. Lack of rural roads and transport infrastructure in the  province, High cost of infrastructure. social Increase the desire to Travel and Tourism, Tourist attention to new type of tourism and tending to beyond entertainment and leisure  purpose travelling, Increase academic experts in the field of tourism. Impress the culture of the local people, with tourists, High probability of migration and the lack of suitable  job opportunities, Lack of awareness and education about the advantages and disadvantages of tourism in the region. environmental Utilization of agricultural and garden flora in medicinal  purposes. Contamination of soil and water resources and the destruction of nature by tourists. institutional Increased attention to the development of rural tourism and  benefiting from opportunities for employment and empowerment of rural villages. Lack of attention to rural development. Analysis results by using SWOT The results of SWOT analysis shows there are 17 strengths, 13 weaknesses, 8 opportunities and 7 threats in region. It shows the region can manage limitations and restrictions with use of opportunities and strengths points. Based on this analysis, we conclude that the State has the internal and external potential to development. But it requires planning and implementing appropriate strategies to profit of agriculture tourism for development of rural areas. SWOT strategies are as follows: SO strategies (offensive), using of the strength and opportunities for development: Using of government attention in tourism sector to attract private and public investment; Attracting private sector support, and identifying opportunities for its investment; Taking advantage of the incentive for local communities to actualize the potential talents by using of academic expertise to promote tourism in area; Encourage farmers and make them aware of the tourist’s interests to visit the farms and agriculture attraction. ST strategies (diversity), using of the strength in order to eliminate threats:  Attract public and private investment to building infrastructures, facilities and tourism services for satisfying tourists; Using of the cooperation and hospitality sense of the local community to provide residential facilities to the tourists in their homes;  KHOOSHEBAST ET AL.: EXAMINE THE CAPABILITIES AND LIMITATION OF AGRICULTURAL TOURISM IN THE..   Indian J.Sci.Res. 4 (6): 976-981, 2014   Preparing farms and villages to hosting tourists and using of advertise to introduce agriculture tourism in the Gilan; Using host community for planning and make them aware to prevent of environmental damages.  WO strategies (review), using of the opportunity in order to eliminate weakness: Holding National and local meetings and seminars to attract investment in tourism; Revision of laws and regulations to promoting tourism equipment, facilities and infrastructures for rural communities; Providing tourism opportunities related to the environment, nature and farm to empower rural community. WT strategies (defensive), attention to weaknesses and threats to obviation them: Attract professionals and graduates to help tourism development in rural areas; Fund raising to building infrastructures and facilities needed to develop; Preparing Access route maps and publishing them to inform and introduce the unknown areas; Informing Guest and host community and prevent of transfer agricultural land to build private villas. CONCLUSION As it is explained, agricultural tourism opportunities in rural areas enhance the sense of pride for local communities and empower them. In addition, agricultural tourism, cover economic, social, cultural and ecological sustainable development of society. Agricultural tourism by allowing rediscovery of rural life by tourists, in addition to stimulating community pride, is a new and exciting attraction for tourists. According to the results of the SWOT analysis in the province of Gilan, the potential of agriculture development is undeniable. Agricultural tourism development in the province comes up potentiol with planning and full participation of local residents in the near future.  Solutions of agricultural development in the tourism sector are as follows: Because of the very favorable opportunities, agriculture tourism should be the main sector of development in rural areas; In relation of tourism agricultural, tourism master  plan, to be carried out by relevant agencies and the implemented by efficient management; Focusing on development of infrastructure and agriculture tourism in rural areas; And finally through the organized propagandas, the opportunity of agriculture tourism is introduced to tourists and enthusiasts. REFERENCES   Bahrami, R., 2010, Evaluation and weaknesses of rural tourism development in Kurdistan, Proceeding of fourth international congress of Islamic world Geographers (ICWG 2010), Iran, Zahedan Country planning department of Gilan province, Gilan statistical yearbook, 2008 Gopal, R, Varma, S, and Gopinathan, R., 2008, Rural tourism development: constraints and possibilities with a special refrence to agricultural tourism, a case study on agriculture tourism destination-Malegoan Village, Taluka Baramati, District Pune, Maharashtra, Conference on Tourism in India – Challenges Ahead, 15-17 May 2008, IIMK Hejrati, M., 2001, Geography and rural development, survey of Gonabad, Tehran: publication of cultural center of Aba Harrison, J, and Caron, J., 2004, Strategic management, Translator: Behruz Talli, Tehran: publication of Tehran university Imani, B., 2009, Effects of Tourism in Rural Development, Case Study: hot spring of Sarein- Ardebil, Geography and Rural Planning, Master Thesis, Tehran University, 2009 Javan, J, and Saghaii, M., 2004, The role of rural tourism in development of the region, Journal of Geography and regional development, No 2, 109-124 Joghini, A, and Shakibaii, A., 2012, Estimating capacity of rural savings in Gilan province, National
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