Return migration acts as a driving force of development and a key incentive of prosperity in rural areas by fulfilling their potentials. Rapid population displacement in developing countries including Iran, reveals the necessity of return migration planning. Semirom is a county in Isfahan province with the highest rate of emigration based on the 2011 Census enjoying sufficient potentials to change this trend. The overall purpose of this study is to analyze the ecosystem capacity of Semirom in order to develop a return migration planning.
The research method is descriptive-analytical. As such, this study can be categorized as an applied research. The environmental, social, economic, and managerial aspects are hereby considered. The questionnaire of Semirom situation assessment was analyzed using inferential statistics (t-test) by SPSS. Content analysis was conducted by interviewing officials using Atlas.ti software. Internal and external factors evaluation matrix and SOAR model were used to offer strategies. In the end, adaptive strategic alternatives are prioritized using the QSPM planning approach and policies for the realization of the return migration. Statistical population consists of the residents and authorities of Semirom county.
The findings indicate that the most important factors affecting return migration are reinforcement of gardening, related industries and tourism attractions, improving the quality of welfare services, fostering the sense of belonging, and the availability of fertile soil and sufficient irrigation water. Accordingly, the strategy of "appropriate management of tourism and environmental spaces for proper utilization of natural resources" should be given priority. It is also suggested that proper utilization of natural resources and tourism along with the potential of eco-tourism can offer a great opportunity for sustainable employment. This requires efficient management of new approaches and providing a secure environment for investment and entrepreneurship. In other words, considering the potentials of tourism will improve the quality of amenities, infrastructure services and employment, which in turn can boost their quality of local life, and their willingness to stay permanently in their rural residence, which ultimately encourages immigrants to return to their homeland.
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