In this study we are trying to answer two important questions about rural tourism. First of all, what are the expectations of rural tourists? Secondly, is there any connection between the expectations and perceptions? For this study I will provide surveys in order to prove and to answer the questions. The gap between importance and performance will be evaluated. The findings will be applied to improve service quality and it will serve as the basis for rural tourism stakeholders to improve their service strategies in response to customer needs.
Also I want to point out about sustainable development, intercultural communication on rural tourism. Because tourist may need transportation, therefore, with the emission of CO2 we may destroy the environment.
Aims and objectives
The objective of this study is proving information about how could we satisfy our rural tourist, is our facilities met their expectation? To answer this question I will provide the study of my surveys in order to help the owner of rural houses or hotels to understand better the behaviour of our customer. The aim of doing these surveys is help the stakeholder of rural houses or hotels to understand what their customer is expected before they go to the hotel or houses and if they have been satisfied after the stay, in order to improve their service strategies in response to customer needs. There are many studied about the rural tourism but most of these studied is about the development and how could the rural tourism asses to the rural economic growth, but they have never mentioned about the customer satisfaction which is the key fact that will help our business success.
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Definition of the rural tourism.
It seems really easy to define the term rural tourism, but actually it has many issues when we try to define the term, because depend on where we are we can find many difference definition about rural tourism, In Spain sometime they consider the size of the population to define rural or urban, however, size of the population is not enough to determine “rurality”. Also, when specialist want to check or test the growing process of the rural tourism, they cannot get an accurate information because in Spain there are not standard legislation for the rural house or hotel, so without uniform standard is impossible to attempt the growth.
According to Nilson (Nilson, 1998, cited in R. Derek, 2003, p.183) “tends to view all tourism non-urban areas as rural tourism”. It´s not really good point because we cannot considered that all non-urban tourism is rural tourism, because due to the first statement to be considered as rural it has to have some requirement, like the population size, the environment, activitiesâ€¦etc., But sometime rural tourism is considered when the rural culture is an important component of the product on offer, because rural tourism is the wish to give a customer the physical and human environment of the place, make them participate on traditions activities or lifestyle of local people (Luigi Carini, 2003, Cited in R. Derek, 2003, p.183).
Why is so difficult to define rural? It is because all of us have a different perception of “rurality”. Therefore there is not exactly meaning for this term.
Development of the rural tourism.
Rural tourism has growth a lot in the past twenty years, nowadays more and more people is going to rural tourism, what was the elements that asses this growing?, is because they are tired of urban life, that´s why they want to relax in a better or relaxing environment by doing activities that they would never do in a urban or resort hotel?. In this study would help you to understand more about rural tourism and have more knowledge about how would rural tourism can assess the rural economies and help the conservation of the rural environment.
“Rural tourism is largely a domestic phenomenon with a disparate nature across countries and continent” (Gartner, 2004, Cited in Gao, 2009, p.439). This explains us why in the last past few years were a significant amount of case studies in relation of countries and rural tourism lures in diverse countries. In China the development of rural place took place in 1980s, the rural tourism has undergone during 20 years with the forms of poverty alleviation through tourism, According to some research China has more than 56% of the population living in rural area, even though in the past few year it has an incredible growth in China general economic but it does not affect the growth of rural area because Chinese people considered “the Nong” which means prior necessity of humans is food, therefore they have a huge concern about the rural activities, and in this case is the mentality which is the key point of the development of the rural area and encourage the rural tourism(Gao, 2009, p. 440). In addition, rural tourism it has a particular way to attract customer by offering them agricultural atmospheres and cultures at really low cost and it does not require a sophisticated infrastructure like if you go to city centre, or resort hotel ( Gannon, 1994, Cited in Byeong, 2009, p.22). Consequently, In Korea has considered the structural and new type of customer have guide to the rural development. Nevertheless in Serbia has a different way to promote the rural tourism, in Serbia has good potential in rural tourism due to that it has many rural area under development, because in that way they can encourage and promote the rural tourism in order to assess the rural economic growth, which play an important role in the entire Serbian economic and the formation of richer and picturesque image of Serbia, therefore for Serbian to promote rural tourism a good marketing strategies is needed and the standard for this kind of tourism, because in Europe has a standard for the rural tourism (K. Kosic, 2010, p. 428).
Sustainable development of rural tourism
The growth of the rural tourism is really important, due to that it can assess the rural economic growth, create job in rural area, encourage the agricultural growth in under develop areaâ€¦and so on, however the quickly growth or no control of the rural growth can lead unexpected issues and can bring negative influences on rural communities and the tourism business itself (Byeong, 2009, P.23). Basically means that the overdevelopment and no planned development can lead the outflows of benefit, commercialization of local culture and corrupted some local area with strangers, that´s why sustainable development is needed on these places.
Therefore the objective of being sustainable, at the first stage is to understand the relative importance to tourism decision makers of each indicator for sustainable rural tourism development ( Byeong, 2009, P.24). According to Young (1992, P.100) ” most of studies seem to contend that economic, social- cultural, environmental sustainability are the main factors that should be maintain during the development of rural tourism”. There are many conflicts about the sustainable development indicators,” the main five indicators are: customer satisfaction, environmental, employment, financial leakages, and environmental impact assessment indicators” (Miller, 2001, P.351-365). These indicators are really important in term of managerial and planning term, but what about the intervention of the government? Should not it be more effective, the government should set standard for the rural development.
Many researches illustrate the importance of the economic aspect in rural tourism, specifically the increasing of the income of local people, and the increasing of the employment (Greffe, 1994, P.22). The point of involved local people in rural tourism is create more job opportunities and sells local foods or obtaining benefit by selling accommodation. By doing it, it helps the local needs and concretely in area where is less developed. Nevertheless sometime it bring problem by involved local resident in development of rural tourism, because fluently there is not guarantee in concern about the return on both economic and time investments (Mcgehee, 2002, P111-124), therefore in order to avoid this type of issues the income need to be reported to the stakeholders, due to that income are measurable, and through the process, the objective, aim need to be updated quite often, in order to ensure the effectiveness, and by giving to the local people the report about the investment and benefit on return can assess the increasing of tourist, creating new job, have more revenue, therefore the involvement of local people is crucial to the development of rural tourism (Byeong, 2009, P.25).
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As the rural tourism growth, the residents life will have some change, due to the enrichment of the zone, and also increased opportunities for social interaction and culture exchange, and on the tourist side is providing the opportunities of to experience traditional cultural and the way of life, but in that case local people need to preserve the cultural identity, also the uniqueness, and the character of communities (Macgehee, 2002, P.111-124). The preservation of historical, scenic heritage should be preserve for long-term rural tourism, be sure not to destroy the environment.
Beside the conservation issues, there is another issues that need to be considered, and is the safety, because as the tourist increase, the crime, traffic will increase, therefore the public security is important in this case, residents should provide a safety and clean environment in order to attract more tourist (Gannon, 1994, P.80).
The consequent of increasing the number of tourist can cause social and cultural issues, and also can affect the environment of the place, therefore local people need to have awareness about this problem, as they are involved in the development of rural tourism, therefore local people play a really important role in preserving and controlling their environment ( Byeong, 2009, P.26-27).
In order to preserve the environment sustainability, the number of visitor need to be controlled, setting the maximum of tourist that can come per month or per year will increase the feasibility of environment sustainability, and is not just the number of tourist has to be concerned, also the pollution, as the tourist increase the traffic will increase in the same way, therefore the contamination of the environment is a big problem. And by setting the maximum number of persons that can visit the place will contribute or reduce these problems (Gannon, 1994, P.97). Taking in consideration that a careful consideration of the tourist carrying capacities and required the scale and type of developments suitable for each part of the local. According to Lane (1994, P.102) “This may include decisions to allocate some areas for intensive use, to make some areas less accessible on conservation grounds and to set overall limits to growth”. This is a good method to keep some historic landscape protected.
Managerial and administrative sustainability
Due to fact that local people do not have the knowledge about how to promote or to whom should they direct their product, the issues of how to sell their product and how to attract tourist is crucial facts to lead sustainable rural development (Byeong, 2009, P.27). Furthermore, tourist sometime depends on marketing communication in order to choose a destination for holiday. Thus, is good to communicate with the government or manager in order to let them know about our product and help local people to promote it properly (Mcgehee, 2002, P.111-124).
Since the tourist who has chosen rural tourism is because they expect total non-urban life style, that’s why a diverse of outdoor activities in order to let them experience rural life and connect with nature and obviously exchange culture with local people.
Besides the activities, local food also needs to be provided in order to meet needs and satisfy the tourist, creating great experience to lead to feel good and come back (Macgehee, 2002, P.111-124), because the quality of food production and restaurant, which is closely link to customer satisfaction. Moreover, the service, accommodation, transportation, accessibility need to be provided at reasonable price. Another issue really important regarding with customer satisfaction is the kindness of local people, therefore the welcoming of tourist is needed (Mckercher, 1998, p.173-188).
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