Estimation of the Willingness to Pay of Citizens for Agritourism Services Case study of Qazvin

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof. of Agricultural Development, Dep. of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Development, Tehran University

2 Prof. of Agricultural Extension and Education, Dep. of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Development, Tehran University

3 Prof. of Dep. of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Agricultural Economics and Development, Agricultural and Natural Resources College, Tehran University

4 Prof. of Geography and Rural Planning and Member of Center of Excellence in Rural Planning, Tehran University


Extended Abstract
Nowadays designing win-win strategies on the basis of multifunctional agriculture is
one of the most important conditions for surviving of agricultural lands. These
strategies should design in such a way that could conserve agricultural land use,
improve farmers’ income while provide environmental and social services through
farming systems. One of the basic solutions may be considered in designing win-win
strategies is sustainable agritourism. Agritourism has long been considered a means
of accomplishing economic and social development. It has been promoted as an
effective source of income and employment. Global restructuring, including
improved production methods and free trade, together with changing consumer
trends, has led to profound changes in rural economies, particularly for small
farmers. This new situation necessitates diversifying farming activities and provides
a greater interest in new agricultural niche markets. Development of agritourism is
recognized as an internal element in the revitalization of rural areas through tourism.
Agritourism is an entrepreneurial approach which would lead to positive impacts by
appropriate management. Because of either the mood of pessimism about the
excessive, irregular, and continuous growth of urban areas or the desire to escape 
from the stresses of everyday life or the noble allure of green space, suburban
spaces, or pristine and untouched areas, individuals communicate with nature as a
part of their ordinary recreational cycle. According to the estimations, 77.5 percent
of Iranian population would reside urban until 2032. This change could present
suitable opportunity for agritourism development and creation of supplementary
income for farmers and consequently for reduction of agricultural land use change.
But lack of dynamic and learning agricultural management has increased
vulnerability of Iranian farmers and has declined their investment ability in order to
improve land productivity. Despite groundwork and many possibilities for
agritourism development in Iran, no study has been done to estimate potential
demand for agritourism services and effective factors on it.
This study employed contingent valuation and double-bounded dichotomous choice
method to estimate willingness to pay for agritourism services in Qazvin, Iran.
Population of the study included Qazvin citizens over 18 years of age who had
visited agricultural and rural areas at least on time in the last year. The sample size
estimated 153 persons and a total of 180 questionnaires were completed via face to
face interviews. One of the most widely used techniques for ecological valuation has
been the contingent valuation method (CVM). It involves asking people directly
what value they would place on an amenity if a market existed for it. Also a Logit
Model was estimated using Maximum Likelihood Approach in order to investigate
the effective factors on individual willingness to pay (WTP).
Information about respondents’ socioeconomic characteristics included their age,
gender, residential area, marital status, education level, occupation, distance to
agricultural and rural destination, family size, and income. The results indicated that
the respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to 69 year old with an average age of 35.67.
Findings showed that average of respondents’ family size was 4 person and they
travel to agricultural and rural areas at an average of 6.5 times annually. Number of
visits from these destinations ranged from 1 to 30 times. The respondents preferred
35.7 kilometer as maximum distance to agritourism destinations. The results of this
study provide some evidence that diversifying farms into tourism activities and
consequently developing a successful entrance fee program can provide additional
revenue to alleviate the financial shortage faced by small farmers. The mean of WTP
projected 53400 rails per each visit and for using some agritourism services. As this
estimation was statistically significant and as about 80 percent of citizens accept one
of the suggested amounts, it would be concluded that there is appropriate potential
market for development of agritourism enterprises. Results showed that variables of
“annual number of travel to rural-agricultural environments”, “family size” and
dummy variables of “having car” and “place of born” had a significant effect on the
anticipated willingness to pay of citizens. 
The coefficient for annual number of travel to rural-agricultural environments was
negative. It implies that the more travel to these areas annually, the less the number
of respondents who are willing to pay the suggested amount. So planners of
agritourism development should focus on citizens with lower times of visit from
rural-agricultural environments. Negative coefficient of family size indicated that
increase of family members, decreases willingness to pay for agritourism among
respondents. Thus new and young families should be first priority of marketing
plans. Totally based on the findings, a fee-paying program could be developed that
is acceptable to visitors and helps to ensure high-quality recreational opportunities in
farms. It seems reasonable for policy makers to at least consider an entrance fee as
one of the funding alternatives for agritourism development.