People, Travel

ICHHTO Talks of Facilitating Tourism Investment

ICHHTO Talks of Facilitating Tourism InvestmentICHHTO Talks of Facilitating Tourism Investment

The government’s policy is to shift control from the public sector and empower the private sector, according to a high-ranking official at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday during his visit to Tabriz in East Azarbaijan Province, Saeed Shirkavand, the organization’s deputy for planning and investment, said investment in the tourism sector must be geared toward economic development as it can “create jobs and boost income”, IRNA reported.

He said ICHHTO is committed to facilitating investment in the sector that is plagued by complicated laws and bureaucratic hurdles.

“The people of East Azarbaijan who made a fortune outside the province must be encouraged to invest in the region’s tourism industry,” he said.

Shirkavand stressed the organization firmly believes in repurposing historical buildings and said the province has many old buildings that can be transformed or repaired by private investors.

“ICHHTO is willing to help the private sector repurpose or renovate historical buildings by providing subsidies and securing loans from the National Development Fund or banks,” he said.

However, Shirkavand’s claim that ICHHTO’s goal is to transfer power to the private sector contradicts assertions by the private sector.

Speaking to the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad in July, Ali Farrokhmehr, the president of Tehran Hotels Association, said, “The private sector has been actively trying to build more hotels, but the organization’s insistence on exerting full control over hotels goes against the principles of privatization.”

Farrokhmehr noted that ICHHTO constantly issues directives that limit the private sector’s control over hotel management and restricts the association’s influence over these establishments.

“They claim they are committed to developing tourism, but their actions only serve to hinder progress,” he said at the time.