Host Perceptions and Attitudes to Tourism Development in Rural Areas in Golijan County, Tonekabon.



Extended Abstract
One of the critical criteria in sustainable tourism development approach is support and attitude of inhabitants. Local resident support for tourism development is critical because successful operation and sustainability depend heavily on their good will (Jurowski et al, 1997, 3; Gursoy et al, 2002, 679 and Jurowski and Gursoy, 2004, 269(. Therefore planning in respect to sustainable tourism development should be on the basis of the goals and priorities of local residents. Indeed some of researchers even went further and recommended that local attractions be promoted only when endorsed by residents. Residents perception have been shown to be influenced by a number of factors, including personal economic reliance on the tourism industry, the importance of industry to the locality, the type and extend of resident-visitor interaction and the overall level of tourism development in the community. Implicitly or explicitly; theoretical base for this research is social exchange theory. Social exchange theory concerned with understanding the exchange of resources between individual and groups in an interaction situation. Therefore social exchange theory suggests that people evaluate an exchange based on the costs and benefits incurred as a result of that exchange.
The objective of this research is to determine factors affecting attitudes and level of inhabitant support of tourism development in rural areas of Golijan County, The case study target is located in Tonekaboon township in Mazandaran province This county having favorable climate, natural landscapes like rivers, jungles, and springs of mineral spas is attended to by domestic and foreign tourists in 2006, this county had a population of 34333. And 9800 households. The main motivation of tourists taking trip to this area is nature tourism. Moreover, there are second homes established almost simultaneously with overnight tourists. The establishment of flows of mass tourism dates back to the mid 1991's, and ever since the growth of tourism development has been on a continuous rise.

The Methodology is based on using questionnaire. Statistic population divided to three groups including household service and trade sector and officials therefore it used stratified sampling with 354 samples. In this research, tourism development is as independent variable and negative and positive impacts of economic and environmental aspect and level of support of host community as dependent variable.
In order to analyze variables it used statistical method includes correlation regression and nonparametric statistic with SPSS software.

Results and Discussion
Findings show rural areas located in Golijan County are at different level of tourism development. So that rural areas close to coastal line have experienced more growth than ones distantly coastal line (table 3). In this respect, Man Whitney test confirms significant difference of level of tourism development between two groups of rural area (P = 0.000). The results indicate that tourism development brought about positive economical impacts and consequences including job creation, income increase and so on. Despite positive effects and impacts, mass and spontaneous nature of tourism development in combination with inefficient management, there have also caused negative economical, social and environmental effects and impacts like Increase of goods and services price, Pressure on recourses more than their capacity and so on. In this respect, inhabitants of rural areas close to coastal line with level of higher tourism development have perceived negative impacts stronger than rural areas distantly coastal line.
In general, inhabitants in under study area have positive attitude and perception toward tourism development. Result of two variable regression between job dependents toward tourism sector and level of inhabitant support show that variable of job dependents toward tourism sector as independent variable interpret ate 0.247 of change of dependent variable that is level of inhabitant support. In this region, business owners with more dependence to tourism sector were more supportive than inhabitants to tourism development. On other hand, Level of support of inhabitant from tourism development is affected by level of tourism development. So that Result of two variable regressions shows that variable of tourism development explain 0.119 of changes of level of inhabitant support toward tourism development.

Increase in level of negative impact affected by tourism development in comparison with acquired advantages will gradually decrease the level of host support. On the basis of that coastal rural areas with higher level of tourism development and stronger understanding from negative impact and consequences of tourism development have had less support than rural areas distantly coast line.