Date of Award:

5-2010

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Department:

Applied Economics

Advisor/Chair:

Dr. DeeVon Bailey

Abstract

Rural tourism is a popular development tool in both developed and developing countries. However, rural economic development can be problematic when considering the diversity of resources and stakeholder groups. In the Republic of Armenia the current system of tourism development is not benefiting rural communities in the regions. This study seeks to provide a deeper understanding of community dynamics in the rural region of Goris through the study of tourism integration. A novel assessment tool is implemented which provides a systematic qualitative evaluation of stakeholder perceptions through which strengths and weaknesses of the local tourism sector are derived. Data extracted from semi-structured interviews provide a clearer understanding of current conditions that will provide valuable insight for policy and development initiatives that seek to maximize local cooperation and benefit. It is clear from this analysis that local strengths include endogenous natural, human, and historical resources, embedded community valuation of tourism, and complementarity. Local weaknesses are related to accessibility, inadequate infrastructure, information disparity and environmental stewardship. Recommendations are made for follow up, planning and implementation.