Tourism has long been considered as a potential means for socio-economic development and regeneration of rural areas, in particular those affected by the decline of traditional agrarian activities. Peripheral rural areas are also considered to be repositories of older ways of life and cultures that respond to the postmodern tourists’ quest for authenticity (Urry, 2002).
Rural Development is an instrument which requires an integrated approach regarding economic, ecological, cultural and social way. Rural tourism is one of the most important instruments of Rural Development
According to Keyim, Yang & Zhang, 2005; Rural tourism has long been considered the means of accelerating economic and social development, and has become a development tool for many rural areas.
More specifically, the development rural tourism offers potential solutions to many of the problems facing rural areas, These may be summarized as:
• Economic growth, diversification and stabilization through employment creation in trades and crafts; the creation of new markets for agricultural products; and a broadening of a regions economic base, because local residents with a few can readdily work as food servers, retail clerks and hospitality workers. Tourism also skills can serve as a vehicle for attracting potential investors, as todays tourist may spend their life after retirementor start a business there.
• Socio-cultural development, including the maintenance and improvement of public services, the revitalization of local crafts, costoms and cultural identities, increases opprtunities for social contact andexchange.
• Production and improvement of both the natural environment built infastructure. Tourism, whichs generally considerered to be a relatively clean industry, may support local environment conservation (Keyim, Yang& Zhang, 2005).
According to Mahmoudi, Haghsetan, Meleki (2011); decrease in rural area’s population and increase in the urbanity rate in recent years is a result of poverty and the absence of proper access to resources of welfare and livelihood services. Optimum usages of environmental, economical and production potentials of rural areas for improving income and welfare can be efficient in reaching the goal of reducing the rural immigration. Rural tourism is a part of tourism market and is a source of employment and income. Also it can be presented as a significant tool for the socio-economical development of rural areas.
Declining economic activity, restructuring of the agricultural sector, dwindling rural industrialisation and out-migration of higher educated youth, has led to the adoption, in many western nations, of tourism as an alternative development strategy for the economic and social regeneration of rural areas (Pompl & Lavery, 1993; Williams & Shaw, 1991; Hannigan, 1994; Dernoi, 1991; Wickens, 1999)
Rural tourism in one of the forms of sustainable development that through promoting productivity in rural zones, brings about employment, income distribution, preservation of village environment and local culture, raising host community’s participation and presenting appreciate methods to conform beliefs and traditional values with new circumstances (Kanaani, 2005).
Sustainable development is a process having economic, social, cultural and environmental-ecological dimensions. This process is perceived as a development in all respects for both urban and rural societies. Yet, in most of the developing countries rural population is gradually diminishing, notwithstanding the agricultural lands that are losing productivity are increasing. While this situation primarily results in increasing impoverishment of rural society, it also causes problems such as deforestation, erosion and productivity loss with the misuse of resources. On the other hand, damaging the natural resources emerge problems such as migration, poverty and hunger. These problems primarily affect rural people. Most affected ones by these problems are women and children. Overcoming these problems would be possible by sustainable planning and management of rural areas in accordance with their resource potential (Golley and Bellot, 1999).
Rural tourism has a positive impact on agricultural development, farmers’ incomes and the standard of living in rural areas. However, one important issue is how to reach a consensus among local government, farmers’ associations, and individual farmers on what kind of projects to promote, and how they should be funded and operated (Hong, 1998).
Agro-tourism represents a real opportunity for the local economy, the main motivation in training and development initiatives, the traditional activities that have long been neglected, of crafts, the strengthening and development of local artistic creations, linking to friends, material needs and spiritual needs of tourists, local economic activities stimulated life.
Rural household translates offer accommodation and services and creates motivation agro household to prepare and arrange inside and outside the household to obtain revenue, stimulate peasant to invest in their own household, to develop complementary activities of its concerns. The villager will compete, will carry from now on business in a competitive environment and will be forced to become competitive, increase the quality of their services and products to be applied (Munteanu, 2007).
Today, Villages are one of the resources, attracting the attention of tourism planners more than ever. Those with some specific cultural, natural or social appeal have a very strong potential for attracting tourists from close or remote areas and this can have significant role in rural development (Mostowfi, 2000).
Rural development is a strategy for improving economical and social life of poor villagers and a multilateral endeavor to reduce the poverty. That will especially be possible through increase in production and promote productivity in rural environment (Yadghar, 2004).
Certain rural areas depending considerably on stock-breeding and forestry have retrogressed rapidly with the technological developments. This change has rebounded on the economic life styles and agricultural production. Therefore, unifying agricultural activities with recreation and tourism and carrying out plans all together matter within the scope of both enlivening agricultural activities, of the prevention of using agricultural for non-agricultural purposes and of the reunion of people, who left nature and production, with production processes (Kiper, Ozdemir & Ba§aran, 2011).
Since the 70s of 20th century, tourism activity in rural areas has remarkably increased in all the developed countries worldwide, which has played a key role in the development of rural areas that were economically and socially depressed (Perales, 2002).
Rural Tourism (RT) has long been recognized in certain parts of Europe as an effective catalyst of rural socio-economic regeneration for over a hundred years (He, 2003).
In Europe, the rural tourismhas beenwidely encouraged, promoted and relied on as a useful means of tackling the social and economic challenges facing those rural areas associated with the decline of traditional agrarian industries (Wang, 2006; Soykan, 2000). In countries such as France, Austria, and the United Kingdom rural tourism already represents a significant factor and has a growing demand (Pevetz, 1991).
Nowadays, it is seen that there is also a new tendency for rural tourism at local level through local initiatives in Turkey. Although there is still no governmental regulation for rural tourism activities, political and practical developments demonstrate that the sector should be evaluated as a planning element for Turkey.