Analysis and Assessing the regional competitiveness in tourism development planning (Case study: Jolfa)

Document Type : Research Paper


Urmia University


Competitiveness is one of the most important concerns of business and activity in a dynamic and competitive environment. In recent years, competition has been proposed as an economic concept affecting the sustainable development of the tourism and travel industry (Balan et al., 2009). Experience has shown that wherever tourism is developed without a clear plan and strategy, numerous environmental and social problems arise and in the long time, the problems of tourism outweigh the benefits. According to UNESCO, Iran is ranked tenth in the world in terms of tourist attractions, due to its ancient civilization and many historical monuments and cultural-natural attractions. Despite the boom in tourism in recent years, Iran has not yet found its proper place in the international tourism sector, while there are different and diverse areas to compete in tourism and development of tourism in this country (Aliakbari et al., 2015). Jolfa has many valuable historical and cultural attractions and due to its geographical location can be a transit route for thousands of Asian and European tourists. Julfa region has the potential capability to compete with other tourism hubs in the country. So, it is important to identify the factors that lead to increasing the advantages and improving the position of this tourist destination. Undoubtedly, identifying such factors will lead to identifying priorities for tourism development and future planning in the region. One of the methods used in strategic planning is the Meta-SWOT method. Meta-SWOT is an inward-looking strategic planning approach that helps us to compete with competitors in the future by identifying and evaluating our competition with others and by identifying the resources and capabilities of the environment and change our economic borders or common markets with competitors in our favor (Ajza Shokoohi et al., 2018). This study examines and evaluates the regional competitiveness in tourism development planning with land-use planning approach in Jolfa. Aras free zone (Jolfa) is compared with 6 other free zones (Kish, Qeshm, Chabahar, Arvand, Anzali and Makoo) in terms of tourism development and competitiveness. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to investigate and prioritize the factors affecting the competitiveness of destinations in Jolfa.
This research is applied in terms of purpose and descriptive-analytical in terms of the nature of the subject. In the present study, the data and information were obtained through documentary and library studies and field methods (questionnaires and interviews). The statistical population for completing the questionnaire and conducting interviews are tourism experts and specialists and the snowball sampling method has been used. The Meta-SWOT model has been used to analyze information and present the tourism development strategies in Jolfa. The study area is Jolfa, which is located in northwestern Iran and adjacent to Armenia, Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan. In this study, six free trade zones of Kish, Qeshm, Chabahar, Anzali, Arvand and Makoo have been considered as competitors of Aras free zone (Jolfa).
Results and discussion
To assess regional competitiveness in tourism development planning, resources and competitors must be evaluated. First, the goals of tourism development should be identified and then and then prioritize these goals. Prioritization has been done in three levels of high, medium and low priority using Delphi method. Finally, 15 goals have been set, which according to experts, 7 goals are high priority, 5 goals are medium priority and 3 goals are low priority. The second step is to identify effective resources and capabilities in assessing regional competitiveness. Since these resources and attractions are not of equal weight and importance, they should be weighted. In order to weight the factors in this research, the Analytical Hierarchy process (AHP) has been used. The most important influential factors are: the potential of the region for tourism, security and the existence of border markets, historical monuments and climatic diversity. In the third stage, the competitive dimensions between the regions are identified and at the end, a competitive map is created. In the fourth step, a resource-based perspective is used to evaluate resources and capabilities. Accordingly, resources and capabilities are evaluated and measured in terms of value, rarity, imitation and irreplaceability (VRIO) in a 5-point range. In the next stage, environmental factors affecting regional competitiveness in tourism development planning of Jolfa are discussed. PETSEL analysis is used for this purpose. In this regard, the out-of-control environmental factors in Jolfa tourism development planning are evaluated according to the opinion of experts with emphasis on four criteria (weight, impact, increase probability and degree of urgency). In the strategic fit assessment step, the impact of resources and facilities on external factors is evaluated with the help of a survey of experts and specialists in the Delphi method and in the form of binary comparisons. The purpose of this step is to identify the extent to which goals are supported by resources and capabilities. The seventh and final step is to draw a strategic plan based on previous inputs and comparisons. According to the results, among the key factors, private sector investment factor, the existence of coherent and integrated planning based on the future, constant support and supervision of officials and the region's potential for tourism, are most in line with tourism development goals.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the regional competitiveness for tourism development planning in Jolfa. In this regard, using the Meta-SWOT technique, first the factors affecting the development of Jolfa tourism were identified. In the next step, rival cities and areas were identified and compared with Jolfa. The results of this study show that the most important factors in the development of tourism in Jolfa are: having a coherent, integrated and future-based planning; Permanent support and supervision of officials in preparing, implementing and ... tourism plans and programs; Existence of border markets in the region; Employing educated and specialized manpower and paying attention to local customs.
Keywords: Competitiveness, Strategic Planning, Tourism, Meta-SWOT, Jolfa.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 11 August 2021
  • Receive Date: 26 October 2020
  • Revise Date: 29 July 2021
  • Accept Date: 11 August 2021