People, Travel

Few “Special Zones” Have Acceptable Plans

Few “Special Zones” Have Acceptable PlansFew “Special Zones” Have Acceptable Plans

A senior investment official at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has said that only 90 zones out of 1,168 designated tourism areas—about 7%—have made "acceptable" progress.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Saeed Shirkavand, deputy for investment at ICHHTO, said development plans in 90 zones have made acceptable progress.

"Other areas have done a poor job in either developing basic infrastructure or even attracting investment," he said.

The so-called "Special Tourism Zones" has proven to be a major headache for the organization, which in August announced it was scrapping 437 sites from the growing list of special zones.

The designation of Special Tourism Zones was a strategic plan suggested by ICHHTO in 2003 as part of efforts to enact the Fourth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2004-09), ISNA reported.

The zones are first selected based on their historical, cultural and/or natural importance, popularity with tourists, ease of access and adequate infrastructure. They are then introduced to private investors to secure funding to develop infrastructure.

The initial plan had envisioned the designation of up to 200 zones across the country, but the number exceeded 1,000 over the past 10 years due to unsystematic selections.

Of the 1,168 zones, 1,161 were designated as such during the tenure of the past two governments, while only seven have been added by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration that came to power in 2013.


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