Strategies for Winter Tourism Development in Rural Areas (Case Study: Villages around the Shemshak Ski Piste, North of Tehran)

Document Type : Research Paper



Extended Abstract

Tourism is changing in to a main basis of social welfare, economic and social development of the communities and governments. Tourism has been one of the greatest economic sections of the world, with 988 international inputs and 1 billion dollars income in 2011. It is a multi-purpose industry with a considerable share in providing the countries with the added value during the last decades, and an important source of income for development countries. Nowadays, tourism is something beyond an industry and in fact a sustainable social and global phenomenon which possesses its own specific complexities. Many developed countries of the modern world assume tourism as the best way for promotion of culture, providing international understanding and achieving plentiful economic income. Actually, the main purpose of developing domestic and foreign tourism is development of the destination areas concerning social and economic development. Tourism attractions are the main reason for travelers to visit a site. Attractions are motivations which can be used for attracting visitors, because of their specific characteristics and beauties.
Rural tourism is one of the tourists, the different dimensions of sustainable economic, social and environmental sustainable development of local communities to achieve bidder. Therefore, to achieve this requires the design, development and implementation of the strategic model, together with appropriate strategies and specific areas of the tourism planners and managers. Therefore, this study aimed to develop a strategic model for rural tourism development in the study area has been carried out.
Villages are of great importance concerning the tourist attraction, and many tourists visit the rural areas. Therefore, sustainable rural tourism and its intelligent management require planning. Iran also has many cultural, historical and natural attractions, however the country has not be successful to get a suitable position in the world tourism industry and a trivial share of the industry's income has been devoted to Iran. The point is also true in Iran's domestic and specifically in rural tourism.Tourism is an efficient instrument plays a crucial role in economic development of the rural areas. It has been focused in many countries in order to overcome the socio-economic challenges of their rural areas. Tourism, today is one of the most dynamic economic activities plays an important role in the sustainable development of local areas. This industry through a simultaneously combination and utilizing the internal and external resources has many social, economic, cultural and environmental benefits.
A survey on the literature reveals that one of the crucial rural tourism in mountainous areas is winter tourism. Winter tourism and winter sports are dependent on snow. The winter sport destination is defined as a geographic, economic and social unit consists of companies, organizations, activities etc. where the enough snowing is the basis for providing the tourist s with required services, activities and snow sports. Also, Beyazit defines the winter tourist as an individual who visits and area for pleasure and to play winter games and sports and to use its snow related natural attractions (2010, 679).
The most attractive winter sport is ski. That is why snow is known as white gold (Serbulent, 2007, P.1) and winter tourism requires snow (Luthe, 2007, P.2).
The most proper snow depth is 30-50 centimeters for this purpose with at least 100 days sustainment which in turn depends profoundly on other factors including the slope radiant and the sunshine angle (Kammer, 2002, 109). Developing the ski camps is very profitable for the local population including economic and income diversity, improvement of infrastructures and services, providing the local dwellers with mental security and reduction of environmental damages (Lasanta, 2007, 1327). Being seasonal is the most crucial characteristic of the winter tourism which is a function of the weather and holidays (Ahas, 2007).
The author has become interested in studying various aspects of the winter tourism, because of its importance in one hand, and presence of numerous visitors on the other hand. Generally, majority of the field studies and scientific studies conducted in the world and Iran confirm that tourism is an effective facilitator of the economic social development and revival and restoration of the societies (Cavaco, 1995; Operman, 1996; Williams and Show, 1998).

The key question of the research is that. "What is the appropriate strategy for developing winter tourism in rural areas around the Shemshak ski piste?" the present study has been conducted to answer the question, through a survey and field study among the experts and elites using a SWOT model (2010-2011). The questionnaire's validity was confirmed by the panel of professors and tourism experts, and alpha Cronbach's coefficient was calculated (72%) to evaluate its reliability.
Results and Discussion
The Harvard or SWOT model has been taught in Harvard commerce school since 1920 as a unit of commercial policy. It has been the main sprite of the most strategy compiling models in various economic, service, public and non-profitable sections (Bristone, 1381, P.31).
The main purpose of the model is relating the organization to the environment to achieve the best strategies. The most important points in the model are strengths and weak points of the organizations ands the effective opportunities and threats (Bristone, 2002, P.32). Therefore, data collection process was conducted using field studies and open ended question naire. At the beginning we studied the area's internal and external environment and determined the opportunities and threats. They were ranked according to the questionnaire's data analysis and opinions of the experts. Eighty two questionnaires were distributed and 74 ones were completed by the experts at local and province levels.
The results reveal that the winter tourism development strategies in the villages around the Shemshak ski piste tended to be a competitive strategy in the frame work of 8 side-strategies which are practicable and pursuable. However, to achieve a proper position in winter tourism development we need an offensive assaulting strategy with regarding to participation of the villagers around the Shemshak ski piste as the main axis.


Main Subjects