MOU expected to boost agritourism across Golestan

August 3, 2021 - 18:56

TEHRAN – On Sunday, a memorandum of understanding was signed at the provincial level to help develop agritourism across the lush green Golestan, which is situated in northern Iran.  Representatives of Golestan’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department inked the agreement with the provincial agriculture organization, CHTN reported. 

Among other things, the MOU also aims to facilitate issuing agritourism permits to selected farms, identifying and developing tourism capacities in the agriculture industry, monitoring the performance of certified farms, and forming advisory committees and work as a team that will assist the agricultural sector in attracting domestic and foreign tourists, the report said. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, the provincial tourism chief Ahmad Tajari said that this Memorandum of Understanding was inked to advance tourism goals by diversifying different tourism fields according to the needs of tourists, increasing employment, improving rural livelihoods, and safeguarding the legitimate rights of agriculture users and tourism activists.

The first-ever agritourism permit in the country has been issued in Golestan province and this branch of tourism will become prosperous across the province soon, he added. 

Earlier in July, the official announced that agritourism is being developed in the lush green province of Golestan by launching new tourist farms. 

“The province has issued seven agritourism permits in less than a year, which is expected to attract more tourists.” 

Such permits are granted to eligible farm owners in the country to launch agritourism businesses, aiming to set certain standards in a move to ensure the quality of such services in the country.

A total of 720 billion rials ($17.1 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) has been invested in these tourist farms, which are expected to generate almost 120 job opportunities, the official added. 

As tourism and agriculture are the two axes to the development of the province, their combination serves a crucial role in creating jobs and economic prosperity, particularly in the villages, he noted. 

Agritourism is a relatively new branch of the travel industry in which tourists stay with local people in rural areas. Farm/ranch recreation refers to activities conducted on private agricultural lands, which might include fee-hunting and fishing, overnight stays, educational activities, etc.

Experts believe that in addition to the customer services jobs, agritourism pays special attention to the production sector, saying agricultural tourism is much more important and practical than other branches of tourism because it creates a new chain and diversity in the field of production and services.

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).

Agritourism 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.

Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus – a one-millennium-old brick tower – which is of high architectural importance as an exemplar and innovative design of the early-Islamic-era architecture.

Narratives say the majestic tower has influenced various subsequent designers of tomb towers and other cylindrical commemorative structures both in the region and beyond. The UNESCO comments that Gonbad-e Qabus bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran.



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