Kordestan holds potential to be nature tourism hub, deputy minister says

February 28, 2021 - 18:17

TEHRAN –The western province of Kordestan could be developed into a dynamic hub for nature tourism due to its beautiful and pristine landscape, the deputy tourism minister has said. 

However, the province is needed to be promoted more properly in the fields of nature tourism and cultural tourism, Vali Teymouri announced on Friday. 

Baneh, Marivan, and the provincial capital Sanandaj are among the most popular tourist and travel destinations, which require further elaborate introduction, the official added. 

Kordestan can play a significant role in attracting foreign tourists considering its common border with neighboring Iraq, the official explained. 

Nature-based tourism is any type of tourism that relies on experiences directly related to natural attractions and includes ecotourism, adventure tourism, extractive tourism, wildlife tourism, and nature retreats. 

Eco and nature-based tourists seek and expect a high level of service and product directly related to natural attractions, and they are willing to pay for it. They deliver more economic benefits than other tourists because they spend more and stay longer. 

Iranian officials and policymakers in the realm of travel expect such a branch of tourism development will end and possibly reverse the trend of migration from villages to cities by creating sustainable jobs and prosperity for local communities.

Agritourism and nature-tourism enterprises might include outdoor recreation (fishing, hunting, wildlife study, horseback riding), educational experiences (cannery tours, cooking classes, or tea or coffee tasting), entertainment (harvest festivals or barn dances), hospitality services (farm stays, guided tours, or outfitter services), and on-farm direct sales (u-pick operations or roadside stands).

It is a subset of a larger industry called rural tourism that includes resorts, off-site farmers' markets, non-profit agricultural tours, and other leisure and hospitality businesses that attract visitors to the countryside.

Experts say each eco-lodge unit generates jobs for seven to eight people on average so that the scheme could create 160,000 jobs. The Islamic Republic announced in 2018 that 2,000 eco-lodges would be constructed across the country until 2021. Having a very diverse natural setting, Iran offers varied excursions to nature lovers. Sightseers may live with a nomad or rural family or enjoy an independent stay.

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