First Ecotourism Festival to Be Held in Kurdestan

April 18, 2002
TEHRAN - The managing director of the Kurdestan Province Touring and Tourism Organization, Hossein Ahmadi Niaz, announced, "The first Ecotourism Festival will be held in the city of Marivan, located in Kurdestan Province, from May 14 to 17. Considering that 2002 has been named the Year of Ecotourism, this festival will be held in Kurdestan, with officials from both the private and public sectors of the tourism industry attending."

He said that although Kurdestan Providence has over a thousand known ancient and historical monuments, only 350 of them have been registered as national monuments.

Ahmadi Niaz believes that the natural and unique attractions of Kurdestan and its ceremonies, culture and traditions have made this province very attractive for tourists.

He said, "This province is quite safe. Also, the hospitality of the people in this area leaves nice memories in the minds of both Iranian and foreign tourists. During the New Year holidays, about 162,000 people visited this province. Some 71% of them were visiting this province for the first time."

He also stated that since this province is located in the border region, there are many small markets in the area, but since people do not know about them, they have not been able to attract tourists to the region.

Ahmadi Niaz added, "The great forests located in western Kurdestan, the unique flora, the distribution of various animal species, and also the Zarivar fresh water lake in the city of Marivan, which is the largest fresh water lake in Iran, along with other lakes such as the Sirvan and Cheshmeh Dell, Saral Hill in Divan Dareh, and the beautiful forest of Chehel Cheshmeh in Saghez have turned this province into Iran's ecotourism center."

Ahmadi Niaz believes that the lack of infrastructure and the wrong impression people have about this province is hindering tourism in Kurdestan. He said, "After we participated in 10 domestic tourism festivals, the true image of this province was revealed to our citizens."

He announced that in the near future, a road in the district of Marivan which leads to Karbala will be paved, saying that with the completion of this project, pilgrims can visit the natural, ancient and religious attractions of Kurdestan.

Ahmadi Niaz added, "Kurdestan Province is the origin of the wonderful villages of Iran. For example, Palangan and Oraman are two villages which date back to about 7000 years ago. I hope the true image of Kurdestan will be revealed through the First Ecotourism Festival."