Tourism projects worth $16.6m to be inaugurated in southern Iran

September 29, 2021 - 17:16

TEHRAN –A total of 16 tourism-related projects, worth 700 billion rials ($16.6 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar), are scheduled to come on stream in the southern province of Kerman on the occasion of National Tourism Week (September 27-October 4). 

The projects include hotels, travel agencies, eco-lodge units, and tourism complexes in different cities across the province, the provincial tourism chief has announced. 

The projects are estimated to generate over 140 job opportunities upon their inauguration, Fereydoun Fa’ali said on Wednesday. 

Parts of the mentioned projects have been carried out by the private sector, the official added. 

Earlier in August, the official announced that despite being home to seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, Kerman province is not still a giant tourist destination.

“Extra efforts need to be made to promote the vast southern province of Kerman as a tourist destination for domestic travelers and foreign tourists,” he noted.

Despite its world-famous attractions, diverse and inviting climates, and conditions, this province is not as popular as it should be, the official added. 

“It is important that governmental and private sectors participate in making Kerman a new destination and market for tourism, given its seven World Heritage sites and various capacities including UNESCO-tagged Bam Citadel.”

Moreover, tourism infrastructure throughout the province needs to be upgraded, he concluded. 

The UNESCO-tagged Bam and its Cultural Landscape is located on the southern edge of the Iranian high plateau, in Kerman province, close to the Pakistan border. It’s highly regarded as an outstanding example of an ancient fortified settlement.

According to UNESCO, the origins of the citadel can be traced back to the Achaemenid period (6th to 4th centuries BC) and even beyond. The ensemble was at crossroads of important trade routes as well in its heyday sometime between the 7th to 11th centuries. The massive fortress and its environs were almost completely brought down to earth due to a devastating earthquake on December 26, 2003.

The big and sprawling Kerman province has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity, blending Persians with subcontinental tribe dwellers. It is home to myriad historical sites and scenic landscapes such as Bazaar-e Sartasari, Jabalieh Dome, Ganjali Khan Bathhouse, Malek Jameh Mosque, and Shahdad Desert to name a few.

National Tourism Week, which begins on World Tourism Day on September 27 every year, aims at promoting and developing Iran’s tourism capacities.

Ongoing tourism projects 

Last September, the former Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said that over 2,400 tourism-related projects are currently being implemented across the country with a total estimated cost of 1,370 trillion rials (around $32 billion).

“This volume of investment indicates that investors recognize the growing tourism sector as a new economy in the country and have high hopes for it,” he added. He also noted that ecotourism has developed rapidly and the number of eco-lodge units increased from 400 units in 2017 to over 2,000 units at the beginning of 2020.

The tourism industry of the country was growing and progressing well but unfortunately, it has faced the coronavirus outbreak, which brought the industry to a standstill, he added.

Iran expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, it aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

ABU/AFM

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