Kordestan villages should reap fruit of ecotourism

December 15, 2021 - 18:22

TEHRAN – The scenic villages of Kordestan province should reap the fruit of ecotourism as a major economic stimulus, the provincial tourism chief has announced. 

The development of eco-lodge units can contribute to the creation of sustainable employment in rural areas, in addition to being one of the best drivers of economic prosperity, Yaqub Guylian said on Tuesday. 

Fortunately, dozens of eco-lodge units have been constructed across the western province over the past couple of years, the official added. 

Kordestan is currently home to 26 eco-lodges, the official noted.
 
In many villages in the province, agriculture and animal breeding are the most important sources of income, and launching eco-lodges and developing ecotourism can allow rural areas to become independent from them, he explained.

As a four-season country with pristine and beautiful nature in different parts of the country, Iran has a lot to offer nature lovers and eco-tourists.

Eco-lodge units in rural areas and the heart of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, smoke, and pollution, could free people from the chaos and turmoil of modern life. 

In recent years, several historical mansions and rural houses across the country have been repurposed into eco-lodge units to attract more domestic and foreign tourists.

The houses represent the indigenous culture, local customs, traditions, and stories, while the guests are served delicious food with local ingredients.

The growing tendency of tourists to experience indigenous and local cultures has made them want to get closer to natural and indigenous living conditions, experiencing the old-fashioned way of life, considering that staying in these eco-lodge units is much cheaper than other accommodation centers. 

Last January, Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism Director Behrouz Omrani announced that Iran has been constructing hundreds of eco-lodge guesthouses over the past couple of years to meet the demands of rising eco-travelers and sightseers.

“At present, issuing guidelines for eco-tourism development is on the agenda. Historical villages are amongst target destinations for eco-tourism development,” the official said.

Iran’s tourism body said in 2018 that 2,000 eco-lodges will be constructed nationwide until 2021. Experts say each eco-lodge unit generates jobs for seven to eight people on average so that the scheme could create 160,000 jobs.

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. The country is home to abundant historical mansions, caravanserais, bathhouses, madrasas, and other massive monuments, which can buttress its budding tourism and hospitality sectors if managed appropriately and refurbished properly.

The name Kordestan refers to the region’s principal inhabitants. After the Turkish invasion of Iran in the 11th century CE (Seljuq period), the name Kurdistan was applied to the region comprising the northwestern Zagros Mountains. It was during the reign of Abbas I the Great of Iran’s Safavid dynasty (1501–1736) that the Kurds rose to prominence, having been enlisted by Abbas I to help stem the attacks of the marauding Uzbeks from the east in the early 17th century.

ABU/AFM 

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