IMPACT OF EMPOWERING LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS IN TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY OF MARGINAL RURAL SETTLEMENTS IN IRAN
Free (open access)
493 - 504
SHAFIEI SABET NASER, HARATIFARD SAEIDEH
The involvement and cooperation of local stakeholders in tourism activities in rural settlements and tourism destinations not only attracts more tourists, but also develops infrastructure, income distribution, and wealth generation, and consequently the sustainability of these marginal rural settlements. In Iran, however, the role of local stakeholders in policy making for the development of tourism has not been clearly defined. Thus, scant attention has been paid to the empowering of local stakeholders of tourism in policymaking. Against this backdrop, this study adopts a descriptive-analytical method to explore the impacts of empowering local stakeholders of tourism on the development and sustainability of rural settlements and tourist destinations in the marginal areas of Tehran and Alborz. To assess sustainability and development of marginal rural settlements, rural development factors in areas such as environmental, ecological, social, economic and physical-infrastructural dimensions were analysed. Also, the variable of empowering local stakeholders of tourism was measured in terms of 10 indicators, including education and awareness-raising, knowledge, skills and human resource development, access to financial resources, competence, and meaningfulness, self-determination, confidence, effectiveness, institutionalization, cooperation and collaboration and their subscales. The results revealed that the empowerment of local stakeholders affected tourism development and sustainability of rural settlements and tourist destination in marginal areas under study. However, 5 indicators of knowledge, skills and human resource development, competence, and meaningfulness, self-determination, and effectiveness were unable to explain sustainability and development in rural settlements. Thus, focus on these 5 indicators and their reinforcement along with other indicators among local stakeholders of tourism will increase their role in the development of rural settlements.
empowerment, local stakeholders of tourism, sustainability, development of marginal rural settlements, Iran