Document Type : Research Article
PhD student in Urban Planning, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan Branch (Khorasgan), Isfahan, Iran
Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Isfahan, Iran
Assistant Professor of Urban Planning, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan Branch (Khorasgan), Isfahan, Iran
In the global economic system, the tourism industry has gained major prominence. The positive impact of this prominence in the socio-economic aspect of nations has made contemporary economists name it the invisible export. This industry is directly involved in sustainable development to promote socio-economic and cultural opportunities in a given country. Parallel to human societies' social, economic, and technological advances, tourism has advanced from traditional to creative. Concerning the evolution of tourism from mass to creative, next to the rich variety of Iranian art and handicrafts, the best supportive factor in developing creative tourism, inherited almost free by this generation. Creative tourism is considered the most appropriate type of sustainable tourism for many cities in Iran.
The city of Isfahan with longitude of 51 degrees and 39 minutes and 40 seconds east and latitude of 32 degrees and 38 minutes and 30 seconds north and an altitude of 1575 meters above sea level is the capital of Isfahan province.
Endowed with numerous cultural and monumental attractions, the Zayandehrood River, and unique creative handicrafts, the city of Isfahan is registered in UNESCO (2015), and it is one of the acclaimed tourist destinations at the local and international level. The city of Isfahan has much potential in creative tourism, an issue not been dealt with seriously so far.
The essential factor in the development of the city of Isfahan is the Zayandehrood, with its head-spring in the Zagros Mountains. This river is the ID card of Isfahan. With its seven engineered diches, this river has nourished the economic, historic, scientific and socio-political aspects of Isfahan. The length of this river is 400 to 480 km, with a width of 200 meters. The length of Zayandehrood from the west to the east of Isfahan is more than 10 km, and it directly affects seven urban zones of Isfahan. The importance and breadth of the Zayandehrood axis can be important and fundamental in creative tourism in addition to mass and cultural tourism and as an opportunity to affect the sustainable development of the city. The Zayandehrood has many negative consequences during drought; that is, tourism in Isfahan declines sharply during drought. Therefore, the present study has explained the indicators of sustainable creative tourism in the Zayandehrood from the perspective of experts and trustees of Isfahan.
The method is descriptive-analytic and survey-based. The data collection method is first based on documentary and library studies, and next on a survey and researcher-devised questionnaire based on the causative relations of variables according to the conceptual model. The statistical population consists of 80 experts and specialists and 30 municipality departments’ authorities, managers, cultural heritage and handicrafts professionals, hotel managers and tourism agents in Isfahan. For sampling the experts, the Snowball (non-random) method is applied. The basis for determining the sample mass is the theoretical saturation. To analyze the results, the T-test and Leven test are employed using SPSS software, and in order to prioritize the indicators of sustainable creative tourism of the Zayandehrood axis, Confirmatory Factor Analysis has been used in Amos software.
Results and discussion
The results of the evaluations made on the creative tourism on axis’ indicators, according to the experts and trustees and by applying the two-sample t-test and considering the numerical of 3 (as the mean of 5 item Likert scale), reveal that from the perspective of the two subject groups, axis creative tourism indicators are higher than the theoretical average (3), that is, it can be claimed that the creative tourism indicators are evaluated moderately. The results of the Leven test show that there is no significant difference in the indicators of sustainable creative tourism between experts and trustees. The results of confirmatory factor analysis show that the managerial factor with a factor load of 0.98, the social factor with a factor load of 0.920, and the ecological factor with a factor load of 0.905 are in the priority. The physical factor with a factor load of 0.823 is in the second priority, the cultural factor with a factor load of 0.665 is in the third priority, and the economic factor with a factor load of 0.54 is in the fourth priority of sustainable creative tourism of the Zayandehrud axis.
Considering the challenges in mass and cultural tourism and the competitive pressures therein, more sustainability of tourism development and considering the many advantages, various benefits of creative tourism development comprise high sustainability and mobility of creative resources, the ability of value creation, no need for lots of built cultural heritage, good possibility for balancing the volume, timing and location of visits, small-scale tourism with limited impact on scarce resources and nature.
There is no doubt that creative tourism is a sustainable form of tourism in the 21st century. In this study, the results of the Leven test show that there is no significant difference in the indicators of sustainable creative tourism between experts and trustees. The results of confirmatory factor analysis show that managerial, social and ecological factors with factor loads greater than 0.9 are in the first priority and the physical factor in the second priority, the cultural factor in the third priority and the economic factor in the fourth priority, that is, the more the creative tourism variables in the Zayandehrood axis are promoted, the more the realization of sustainable urban development will be, and tourists will be more inclined to have new experiences, connect with local traditions and use their creative skills to protect the natural and cultural environment, social justice and equality, and economic development. Zayandehrood's creative tourism, as a sustainable form of tourism, grows around the interests of the local community and has both tangible and intangible benefits. Therefore, providing creative tourism in the Zayandehrood axis will effectively attract tourists even in dry periods and promote sustainable urban development.