The factors affecting sustainable entrepreneurship development in rural tourism (case study: Goleyjan rural district, Tonekabon county)

Document Type : علمی -پژوهشی


Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Faculty of Earth Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran


IntroductionNowadays, sustainable rural development has a particular place in the development policies of countries responding to the challenges of classical development approaches such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, and environmental degradation. To overcome the unsustainability, diversification of the rural economy, based on the discovery, creation, and use of opportunities in the non-agricultural economic sectors of these areas is emphasized. According to the vast human and natural potentials of villages, the development of sustainable tourism in rural spaces, known as sustainable rural tourism, is a relatively new and growing opportunity to inject sustainability into these areas. Recognizing and benefiting from these opportunities is dependent on empowered and risk-taking villager entrepreneurs who are familiar with market potentials and demands, marketing practices, business models, income generation, etc. .Besides, an appropriate environment is essential to improve their entrepreneurial behavior and entrepreneurship in the field of rural tourism. In this respect, sustainable entrepreneurship, which emphasizes the simultaneous creation of economic, social and environmental values, is a key strategy to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, in an entrepreneurial and sustainable-oriented context, sustainable rural tourism is capable to promote sustainable rural development through creation of innovative business opportunities in various fields such as accommodation, tourism, food, handicrafts, etc. Based on the behavioral or environmental entrepreneurship theory, such a context is influenced by numerous economic, social, environmental, physical, and institutional factors that need to be identified and prioritized for effective policymaking. Therefore, the study seeks to find factors which are effective in rural tourism sustainable entrepreneurship in settlements of Goleyjan rural district.Materials and methodThis is a fundamental, descriptive-analytical article. Documentary and field study methods were used for data gathering. The research instruments were observation and questionnaire. The statistical population is all residents of Goleyjan rural district (24304 persons) and the sampling method is stratified random, based on proportional sampling per size. The number of the sample was calculated by Cochran’s formula (379 persons). Data analysis was performed using descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation and Kolmogorov-Smirnov, binomial and Kruskal–Wallis tests and IDW interpolation technique by SPSS and GIS software. Results and discussionAccording to the results, the mean of the factors affecting sustainable rural tourism entrepreneurship development, including economic, physical, infrastructural, social, environmental and institutional were 3.55, 3.50, 3.48, 3.46 and 3.46, respectively. Also, the results of the binomial test (criterion mean = 3) showed that the majority of respondents (97%) expressed the importance of the mean of these factors to be above average. The priority of economic factors, as well as the importance of all other four factors (environmental, social, economic, and institutional) for the development of entrepreneurship in rural tourism, are in line with the research results of Raknoddin et al. (2014). The results of zoning the importance of these factors in Goleyjan indicate that the economic dimension was the most important in the village of Isardeh and the least important in Chalaasar. Other social, institutional, infrastructural, and environmental dimensions had the highest average in Agha Moghim Mahale Village. In general, the average importance of these dimensions in different villages were not the same. Finally, the average importance of these dimensions in different villages were not the same.Conclusion This study investigates to determine the factors affecting sustainable rural tourism entrepreneurship development and their priorities. Regarding the more important economic, social, environmental, physical, and institutional factors, the planning and action, according to spatial priorities is essential. Ignorance of any of them can slow down the process of developing sustainable entrepreneurship in the rural tourism sector of the study area. Given the importance and priority of the economic dimension, it is necessary to promote public and private sector investment, expand financial support, provide facilities and pay off loans with low-interest rates. Furthermore, regarding other factors, developing extensive education in sustainable entrepreneurship and tourism fields, providing entrepreneurial advice and up-to-date information in business to villagers, reducing the required steps for setting-up a business, developing information and communication infrastructure, banking and tourism services and infrastructures are important.