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The role of tourism in rural development: Evidence from Iran


Tourism can play an important role in diversifying the rural economy and its expanding in rural areas contributes to the sustainability of the population and the economy of these areas and provides the basis for achieving sustainable rural development. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between tourism and rural development in Doroodzan region of Marvdasht Township, Iran. This study was carried out using a survey method and the data were collected using a questionnaire from 150 head of households in the villages of the region. The validity of the questionnaire was verified by rural development specialists and the reliability of the instrument was confirmed by Cronbach’s alpha test, which was obtained between 0.71 and 0.88. The results of the data analysis showed that the status of socio-cultural, environmental, economic and rural development in general was rated as moderate. Also, the status of tourism development in the study area has been relatively low from the viewpoint of the respondents. The results also showed a positive and significant relationship between tourism development and socio-cultural, environmental and economic development (r = 0.60, 0.36, and 0.66 respectively). Especially, the intensity of this correlation was relatively higher for economic development. In order to predict the dependent variable (rural development), the multi-layer perceptron neural network was used. The purpose of this analysis was to assess the ability of tourism development to explain the variance of rural development. The results of this phase, showed that tourism development variable was able to explain 26.2% of the variance of dependent variable (rural development). At the end, according the findings some practical recommendations has been presented.

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The authors hereby express their special gratitude to all the rural people who completed the study questionnaires with great patience as well as the surveyors and interviewers who did their best in terms of data collection.

Author information

All five of the aforementioned authors are involved in all stages of the study, including theoretical studies, data collection, analysis and data processing, and the presentation of the report. The ordering of their names based on their contribution to the process.

Correspondence to Mehdi Nooripoor.

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The authors also do not have any financial interest or any other conflict of interest.

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Nooripoor, M., Khosrowjerdi, M., Rastegari, H. et al. The role of tourism in rural development: Evidence from Iran. GeoJournal (2020).

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  • Rural development
  • Rural tourism
  • Artificial neural network
  • Doroodzan
  • Iran