Exploring the effects of sustainable tourism on the food security of rural households Case study: tourist target villages of the township Ardal

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student in Geography and Rural Planning, Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran

2 Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Rural Planning, Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography and Rural Planning, Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran


Extended Abstract
The role of nutrition in health and increasing efficiency of humans, and also, human learning has been proven in extensive global research; Therefore, achieving food security is of particular importance among the priorities of each country's development goals. Food security is one of the indicators of quality of life and has a broad concept that is determined by the interaction of a set of biological, economic, social, agricultural and physical factors. Humans need an environment in which to live in peace, and rural settlements have experienced many environmental, ecological, social, cultural, economic, and physical-spatial problems over the past three decades, such as declining incomes and employment, migration, lack of services, and infrastructure facilities which cause instabilities in these settlements. Instability in the geographical areas of developing countries is far greater than in developed countries. The reason is rooted in the economic and social poverty of these societies. Poverty is one of the most important and fundamental issues in the field of rural development. The issue of reducing poverty and creating a higher level of income and employment is one of the most important and key issues in rural development. The changes that have taken place in the form and content of human life throughout history indicate the existence of development. One of the alternative strategies that can lead to the development of this community and complement other development strategies in these areas is the development of sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is an essential element in poverty alleviation and reducing migration, creating social welfare, preserving the characteristics of traditional culture, preserving traditional contexts, creating job opportunities alongside agricultural and livestock activities in rural areas. In general, tourism leads to the economic development of the local community and improves the quality of life in rural areas. Therefore, in recent years, the importance of the tourism industry as a way to reduce rural poverty, especially in developing countries, has been considered by policymakers. Therefore, in this study, the impact of sustainable tourism on the food security of rural households is examined, and it is expected that the results will be used by the economic planners of the countries. Important questions in this regard include:

What is the relationship between food security and sustainable rural tourism in the study area?
2. Which dimension of sustainable tourism has the greatest impact on the food security of rural households?

The statistical population of the present study consists of households of rural target villages, rural managers of the city, experts and elites. According to the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization of Chaharmahal Bakhtiari province, this city has 10 tourist target villages. In 2016, 10 target villages for tourism had 3038 households with a population of 11174 members. Using the Cochran's formula, the number of samples which is required to complete the 380 household questionnaire was calculated. In the present study, the method of data collection as a library and questionnaire, for analysis of information from descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics (Pearson correlation test and path analysis), and for calculating food security, both methods of food insecurity scale and the calorie standard are used. On a food insecurity scale, questions do not directly address nutritional quality, but cover the household's understanding of changes in food quality, regardless of the actual food composition. In this model, household food security is measured by food security score. Thus, questions in 18 sections, which include a specific set of experiences, characteristics, and behavioral patterns that may occur in a family with food insecurity, are assessed from the households.
Results and Discussion
Following the research and to analyze the effects of sustainable tourism on the food security of rural households, Pearson correlation test has been used. The results show that the most influential indicator between food security and sustainable tourism indicators is economic stability in the village. Test results show that there is a direct and significant relationship between food security and sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism increases employment and income generation, which contributes to economic stability in the region. After the economic sustainability index in sustainable tourism, the social sustainability index has the greatest impact on food security, and the social sustainability index creates food security by making changes in people's attitudes and customs regarding food consumption. At this step of the research, using three sustainable tourism indicators, the effects of sustainable tourism on food security in the study area have been analyzed.
To analyze the path, first a regression was obtained between the dependent variable (food security) and the independent variable (sustainable tourism indicators) and in the rest of the steps, each with the highest beta (BETA) was assumed to be the dependent variable and the other variables were assumed to be the independent variable. At this step, food security is considered as a dependent variable and sustainable tourism indicators are also considered as independent variables. According to the results of the path analysis test, the economic stability index has the highest beta (0.425), which indicates the most effective dimension of sustainable tourism in food security. As a result, the study of the effects of sustainable tourism on food security in the studied villages also shows a higher impact of the economic dimension of sustainable tourism than other dimensions.


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