People, Travel

Iranian Ecolodges Increase Tenfold

Iranian Ecolodges Increase TenfoldIranian Ecolodges Increase Tenfold

The number of ecolodges throughout the country has increased tenfold since President Hassan Rouhani was voted into office in 2013, said an authority at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at ICHHTO, asserted that at present, Iran has 320 ecolodges operating at various capacities while only 30 existed in 2013, ISNA reported.

Ecolodges are local accommodations built in the heart of nature and designed to have the least possible impact on the natural environment in which it is situated. Ecolodges abide by the principles of sustainable development, a concept that has been receiving a lot of attention by major organizations all over the world, including the UN.

Speaking to ISNA, Movahed said Omid Entrepreneurship Fund and the government have joined forces and allocated some 145 billion rials ($4.1 million) in the form of loans to ecolodge owners to help expand their operations.

“Developing such travel services could create jobs for the locals, revive rural areas and help develop the local economy,” he added.

Training workshops on hospitality, organized by offices affiliated to ICHHTO, will be held in 51 villages across the country in which ecolodges either exist or are planned to be built.

The offices will begin operation on World Tourism Day (September 27).

Apart from training local residents, the offices will help provide tourists with a second to none authentic ecological experience and promote local attractions.

Turkmen Ecolodge in Golestan National Park and Gileboom (meaning “Roof of Gilan” in Persian) in Qasemabad Sofla, a county in the northern province of Gilan, are the two most famous ecolodges in Iran.

Iranian ecolodges were nominated for the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s prestigious Awards for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism held on January 20 in Madrid, a sign that Iran is moving in the right direction.