Impacts of Religious and Pilgrimage Tourism in Rural Areas: The Case of Iran

Mehdi Pourtaheri, Khalil Rahmani, Hassan Ahmadi


Rural tourism has speedily developed and become an engine for economic development and plays a great role towards socio-economic changes in rural areas. However, its impact is controversial and not always obvious. To examine these issues, this research presents an empirical analysis of pilgrimage and religious tourism and the impacts of these types of travel in rural areas in Iran. The paper provides examples of these impacts and transformations in the three rural centers as Tourism Model Villages (TMVs). A qualitative method and survey questionnaire was distributed to 300 households in the study area and the data analyzed by use of One-sample T-test, Kruskal-Wallis and tukey test in SPSS software. In this regards the social, physical and economic impacts on the transformation of rural households are discussed. The results revealed that pilgrims and religious tourists are strongly influenced in rural areas, but the social aspect of pilgrimage and religious tourism had the largest impacts on rural households. And also the results indicated that the villages related to “Religious tourism”, have registered statistically significant higher impacts of those villages related to “Pilgrimage tourism”.

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Journal of Geography and Geology   ISSN 1916-9779 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9787 (Online)

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