Recognize and study the facilitators of rural empowerment in the tourism entrepreneurship process

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Geography and Rural Planning, Faculty of Social Sciences, Payame Noor University, Tehran - Iran



Providing employment conditions for the villagers promotes self-esteem, social prestige, social interaction and participation, and ultimately income generation and skills development. In recent decades, in development texts, one of the most important strategies proposed for rural development is empowerment and participation of rural stakeholders in its various dimensions. Empowerment is a part of the language of development and every human being has a fundamental right and a fundamental principle in development. Tourism has long been exalted as a powerful weapon to attack poverty and typical evidence is that the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) launched the ST-EP plan (Sustainable Tourism for Eliminating Poverty) as a global action framework to harness tourism to alleviate poverty. Accordingly, rural tourism (RT) has been taken as an effective tool for poverty alleviation in less-developed rural areas. In order to achieve the development of entrepreneurial activities in rural areas, it is necessary to plan and equip the existing resources in rural areas, especially human resources, through empowerment. Empowering villagers in the field of rural tourism entrepreneurship can, as a strategic choice, bring about a successful transition to rural development. The main purpose of this study is to; investigate the position of empowerment facilitators on the entrepreneurial activities of villagers in the field of rural tourism according to the variables of entrepreneurship and empowerment in the villages of Shahroud Township.


The present study is a survey in terms of practical purpose and from the point of view of generalizability of the findings, it is a survey. The statistical population of the study was the rural population of Shahroud in 2016. According to the Cochran's formula, out of 13,401 households from 7 Countryside, 373 households were obtained as a research sample. Based on the number of households in each Countryside and by stratified sampling method, the number of samples in each Countryside was calculated. The researcher-made questionnaire was randomly distributed among members of the statistical community according to its availability among households. The validity of the questionnaire was confirmed in terms of form and content according to the professors in terms of geography and rural planning, and its reliability was obtained by Cronbach's alpha method. Data analysis was performed using SPSS software and statistical methods and COPELAND technique. Due to the complexity of the phenomenon studied in this study, the mixed research method was used. The mixed research method as a practical tool allows the researcher to combine data and findings obtained from various research methods in a coherent, integrated and scientific format.

Results and discussion

Empowerment of rural entrepreneurs is the most effective way to increase productivity and make optimal use of the capacity and capabilities of villagers in line with the goals of entrepreneurial activities. Ranking of research criteria using COPELAND technique showed that the index of cultural contexts of rural environment has a higher priority. Therefore, the findings of the present study are consistent with the results of the research of Moghadas Farimani and Mirtorabi (2021) and Kiani Salmi et al. (2020). In order to rank the items of empowerment facilitators, the coefficient of variation was used. Helping to create a cultural atmosphere was the first priority. Fourney (2021), Mozaffari et al. (2017) and Dodds et al. (2018) have pointed to the importance of skills training courses and learning processes, helping the empowered to facilitate access to economic resources, and strengthening financial and savings foundations in rural areas. The output of T-test indicates the significance of dimensions and indicators. The index of wealth and capital and the cultural context of the rural environment are among the main indicators that facilitate the empowerment of the villagers of Shahroud are significantly better. Stepwise regression was used to present better results and determine the share of indicators that determine rural empowerment facilitators in the rural tourism entrepreneurship process. The correlation between the research indicators in the region is 0.853, which means that the mentioned indicators have the ability to explain 85% of the changes. Analysis of variance of regression model shows that there is a significant relationship between different indicators at 95% confidence level. The value of R Square is equal to 0.727, which indicates the 72% share of the model in the expression of the variance of the dependent variable. In the second phase of this research, the qualitative method of Grounded theory and the Strauss-Corbin systematic approach were used. Data were analyzed through open, axial and selective coding and classified into 4 general dimensions, 8 main components and 17 initial components. Finally, this model was designed and presented by identifying the dimensions of facilitation, guidance, motivation and innovation.


If the cultural context is more ready, the conditions will be better for empowering the villagers and forming entrepreneurial activities in the field of tourism. Therefore, creating a cultural context in the rural environment of Shahroud is recommended for tourism development. Creating a cultural context along with raising the level of awareness of individuals to meet economic and social needs and providing investment conditions leads to the formation of a model of empowerment which in addition to the ability to make strategic choices, increase self-confidence and create a collective identity, rural tourism entrepreneurs can change their current life pattern into a desirable and worthy human pattern. Expanding rural tourism and entrepreneurial activities by empowered villagers can alleviate poverty, reduce the urban-rural divide, and create economic, social, environmental, and institutional equality. The findings of the Grounded theory are in line with the findings of the quantitative research. Because creating a cultural context along with education, skills training, awareness and funding can Lead to the recognition of the comparative and competitive advantages of the present and the future, achieving equal opportunities for growth and equal access to financial, human and environmental resources, increase business satisfaction, motivation, increase responsibility and commitment to professional ethics, attention to the environment and biodiversity, and proper organization of resources.


Empowerment Facilitators, Tourism Entrepreneurship, Rural Development, Mixed research method


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 11 May 2022
  • Receive Date: 01 February 2022
  • Revise Date: 08 May 2022
  • Accept Date: 11 May 2022
  • First Publish Date: 11 May 2022