Axiology Of Rural Tourism


The paper investigates the axiological approach to rural tourism in terms of resolving the conflict of values that arises from the features of rural life opposed to those of city life. The paper postulates the axiological approach as one of the lines of research into rural tourism in terms of its value component. The need to refer to the axiological approach is determined by the importance of values as a component of personal experience in a modern economy focused on the production of services, which competitiveness is determined by their uniqueness. Based on R. Inglehart’s theory, the author has proposed an approach to tourism as an activity, which includes both material and post-material values to form an internal conflict of values. It is concluded that rural tourism in the aspect of the axiological approach can resolve the internal conflict of values, material and post-material ones, which are formed under the impact of mythology widespread in society. The prerequisite for interest in rural tourism as a way to resolve the conflict is the mythological nature of the concept of the rural area as a lost paradise, which has developed in modern Russian society under the impact of social history and traumatic urbanization processes. The paper reveals the relationship between the axiological principle of rural tourism and the ethical component of the rural tour organization. The value of the authenticity of personal experience is shown as a fundamental component of the ethics in rural tourism.

Keywords: Conflict, consciousness, mythology, rural tourism, sustainable development, values


Tourism as one of the directions of rural development in a post-industrial society is of particular interest to individuals engaged in tourism, including not only representatives of the tourism industry and consumers of the tourism product, but also the authorities and the local community. The adoption of the Strategy for Development of Tourism in the Russian Federation until 2035, including rural tourism, confirmed the need for development of rural tourism as one of the priorities for development of the agro-industrial complex.

Although the tourism product has a wide export potential, rural tourism is traditionally considered in terms of the domestic tourism development. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused serious damage to the tourism industry, highlights the importance of development of domestic tourism and its types that do not imply congestion. In these circumstances, philosophical studies of rural tourism acquire particular relevance, in particular, using axiology as a discipline that focuses on values.

The problems faced by modern agro-industrial tourism do not have a clear solution. To solve them, complex studies of the agro-industrial complex and economic practices of using various resources, including recreational ones, are required. First of all, they must answer the question of how to use modern agro-industrial resources with the greatest efficiency. The development of rural tourism requires fundamentally new concepts and approaches to its formation, containing elements of the sociology and philosophy of rural tourism.

Problem Statement

A better understanding of values that are associated with rural tourism as a phenomenon will contribute to more accurate determination of the place of rural tourism in the socio-cultural practices of modern society; formation of adequate mechanisms for promoting the tourism product in a particular area; choice of rational strategic alternatives for the development of this sphere of the economy. This indicates the importance of developing the axiological approach to rural tourism, which has not been covered in detail in the Russian scientific literature.

The axiological approach aims to synthesize and integrate three directions in the theoretical foundations of tourist practice: ecological, socio-philosophical and philosophical-ethical concepts. This allows, with a fairly high degree of certainty, to describe the paradigm meanings and characteristics of rural travel and tourist practice in various socio-cultural conditions. At the same time, it should be noted that when describing these aspects of tourist practice, certain errors are inevitable, associated with the objective limitations of the axiological approach. These restrictions relate to different understanding of values ​​in economic and philosophical, cultural studies.

Research Questions

Key research questions are associated with identifying the role of the value approach in understanding rural tourism, the content of such values in relation to rural tourism, the prerequisites for formation of these values and their role in organizing rural tours. The study of the value of the axiological approach in the study of rural tourism also makes it possible to answer questions about how the existing knowledge about the values and processes of the formation of such values is used in the formation of tourism products of rural tourism.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to develop axiological foundations for the study of rural tourism as a socio-cultural phenomenon in the conditions of modern Russia. As a result of the study, it is supposed to show that rural tourism is not limited to a trip to the regional center, but has a special philosophical and historical dimension.

Research Methods

The study employed the methods and conceptual approaches of the humanities in terms of the category of values, as well as the phenomenon of tourism. The conceptual understanding of tourism was considered both as an objectively existing social institution and as an axiological subject that generates and reconstructs value systems (Vafina et al., 2020). The apprehension of values of tourism necessitated appeal to the pedagogy of tourism as a scientific direction that implies the value aspects of tourism in the discourse of its impact on a person, his development and upbringing within the framework of the study of the value component of tourist activity (Vlasova, 2017).

The classification of values of self-expression and survival (material and post-material), proposed by Ronald Inglehart, and their impact on socio-economic processes determined the initial understanding of the classification of values in rural tourism (Inglehart, 2020). The authors define tourism as a social institution that interacts with both materialistic and post-materialistic values in the process of its formation and development.

The economic aspect of tourism as an industry and a type of economic activity in the service sector determines the need to apply the concept of the tourism product in general and rural tourism in particular. It is proposed to use the concept of the tourism product of rural tourism as a complex, constructed service aimed at meeting personally determined needs associated with leisure activities in rural areas, which are focused on the specifics of rural everyday life as the main tourist attractor.


The axiology of tourism can be defined from the perspective of intercultural interaction, the clash of civilizations, and the emergence and solution of various cultural conflicts in the course of these interactions, which are based on different concepts of values shared by a tourist, a local resident, and an organizer of tourism activities. We believe that a certain conflictogenity based on values is not so obvious in domestic tourism compared to tourists’ visits to foreign countries, but it also takes place. We propose to shift the focus of the conflict field from the conflict interaction between different subjects to the internal conflict. This conflict of values reflects human development, and tourism acts as a way to search for this conflict that provides internal development.

The conflict of values in the consciousness of an individual triggers this development due to reassessment of values, bringing them into a new hierarchy, and comparing them with values of others. The internal conflict of values is inherent in tourists as consumers of the tourism product, in organizers of tourism activities, in workers in the tourism sector, and in local residents. This is inherent in rural tourism, that is why it is important to reveal the origin of these conflicts in terms of the conflict of different value systems.

The theory of the sociologist and political scientist R. Inglehart is of fundamental importance to study the functioning of various value systems. The theory implies the classification of values into material (associated with survival) and post-material (associated with self-expression), and associates the classification of these values in society with their impact on social, economic and political processes. In the case of tourism, the manifestations of these two types of values are contradictory. Tourism as a cultural and leisure business will spread in societies where the values of self-expression are widespread, which is evidenced by the focus of this business on self-development, expanding the boundaries of personal experience, and self-representation among others. On the other hand, tourism is a profitable business, and one of the key aspects of its implementation is security, which indicates a certain materialistic component in the values of tourism. This should be taken into account in the description of the axiological foundations of tourism with regard to its various types that satisfy various needs. What is the value component of the process of meeting needs in the case of implementation of the tourism product in rural tourism?

Tourism activity affects spirituality, serves as a conductor of some traditional values, and in tourism pedagogy it is defined as part of education and culture. This is a means of bringing an individual to the natural cultural heritage. The myth can act as a direct motivator for implementation of tourism activity, and the myth can be defined broadly – from the traditional myth-legend to modern myths and ‘urban legends’. This, in turn, creates the mythology of tourism (Pisarenko & Fomin, 2017). As for rural tourism, it is characterized by the myth of a ‘lost paradise’: a real life that was once lost. We have shown the importance of the authenticity of personal experience in rural tourism, the possibility of its understanding as a descriptive correspondence to the concept of tradition and the way of forming existential experience and understanding oneself (Turov, 2020).

The myth of the ‘lost paradise’ is always personally and emotionally colored, and it is closely related to the understanding of authenticity. The search for such a paradise and the desire to realize the escapist desire to escape from the ordinary urban world into the natural ‘simple way of life’ can be a driving force for tourism. To a certain extent, a person gives value to rural way of life in its broad understanding as that close to nature and relationship between people, to more ‘simple and sincere’. The issue of formation of such a concept of rural life and its specific value requires clarification. We believe that in this case the mechanisms for formation of such a value in Russia are associated with the traumatic social experience of urbanization specific to Russia, which gives rise to a certain mythology that reflects tourism and social history as a whole (Poberezhnikov, 2017). We believe that the over-centralization of power, the practice of involuntary evictions from rural areas, widespread famine in the early 20th century, and dispossession and repression in rural areas left an imprint on the understanding of the role of the village in the cultural and historical space, and contributed to the formation of a dichotomous concept of village. On the one hand, this is a territory of provincialism, backwardness and hopelessness. On the other hand, this is an image of a house, lost refuge, pastoral and a certain moral and ethical ideal of a rural dweller and rural life as an ideal to which one can strive and which one wants to return to. It should be noted that the objectively lower standard of living in the rural area in modern Russia does not prevent the rootedness of this ideal.

The need to return to the origins, the ‘pastoral’ idealized concept of the village is a manifestation of the effect of post-material values. From a materialistic point of view, this return does not make sense since rural life objectively loses somewhat in its quality compared to city life. The standard of living of a city dweller in terms of comfort, income, access to various engineering and socio-cultural infrastructure is higher than that of a rural dweller. The awareness of urbanization trauma is itself a post-material problem, elaboration of this trauma and the desire to elaborate it indicate the significance of post-material values in human life. This reflects the specifics of the Russian socio-cultural experience and urbanization processes, which affect the understanding of values of rural life, and, as a result, form a specific value of tourism as a way of elaboration of urbanization trauma. This understanding allows a better understanding of the motives of individuals engaged in tourism and adequate development of the tourism products themselves.

A tourism product can be based both on the maintenance of a myth (this seems to be the most widespread variant) and on its rejection, which relates to the mythologization of rural life. The difficulty is caused by the individuality of the experience of each specific individual and the originality of his value system: the tourism product can either strengthen the concept of a mythologically ideal rural life or destroy it. At the same time, the organizer of tourism activities, the creator of the tourism product, plays a significant role in this process, which is closely related to the work with values.

As for the author’s attitude, it should be noted that the conscious choice of the creator of the tourism product is inevitably associated with an ethical component and, in particular, with corporate ethics. Pearce et al. (2011) reported that corporate ethics works well based on the developed post-material values, trust and corporate social responsibility of the organizer of tourist activities. When material values prevail, the level of trust and corporate social responsibility decreases, and this is manifested in the specifics of tourism activities; as an extreme example, the authors illustrate the phenomenon of sex tourism. The ethical component of the activities of the organizer of rural tours should be based on the concept of values as those maintaining the authenticity of everyday rural life, accepting the interests of the local community, and ensuring the principles of sustainable (including ecological) development of the area when carrying out tourist activities in rural areas (Doronina et al., 2018).

This indicates the relationship between two lines of philosophical research: axiology and ethics in relation to such activities as rural tourism. The development of an axiological value component is crucial, otherwise corporate social responsibility of subjects developing rural tourism will remain nothing more than declarative statements. It seems that the creation of conditions for the spread of practices of trust to harmonize relationships between arriving tourists and local residents should become a priority.


The axiological approach to rural tourism revealed the conflicting nature of this business within the framework of the internal conflicts, whereas tourism acts as a way of accentuation and resolution of this conflict. In the case of rural tourism, the internal conflict of values is based on the myth of the ‘lost paradise’ formed under the impact of social history, where the rural area gains value as a better place to live. Rural tourism can both confirm and reject this myth, which is determined by the personal aspect of experiencing the authenticity of the tourism product. Recognition of the authenticity of personal experience as a post-material type of value implies the need for corporate ethical responsibility of the organizers of rural tours, which includes practices that contribute to elevated trust between tourists and local residents.

We also believe that certain research prospects are opened when using a more detailed study of the personality of a tourist from the point of view of his conviction that the countryside and rural settlements really embody the "lost paradise" and correlation with the ethical attitudes of a particular personality. In this case, it is important to develop a methodological toolkit aimed at researching values and attitudes in relation to rural areas, as well as a connection with personality ethics.


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01 February 2022

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Turov, R. S. (2022). Axiology Of Rural Tourism. In D. S. Nardin, O. V. Stepanova, & E. V. Demchuk (Eds.), Land Economy and Rural Studies Essentials, vol 124. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 841-846). European Publisher.