JICA Plans Ecotourism Workshop in Tehran
The Japan International Cooperation Agency will hold a month-long training workshop in the Iranian capital Tehran to teach local experts the inner workings of ecotourism.
Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Mohammad Ali Fayyazi, the head of Iran’s National Ecotourism Committee, said the main aim of the training course "is to teach ecotourism planning and management".
He added that the workshop, which begins on January 29, will be attended by experts from the Iranian forestry, environment and tourism authorities.
The organizers will draw on Japan's experience in conducting ecotours to explain topics ranging from ecotourism regulations to wetland management.
Established in 1974, JICA aims to contribute to the promotion of international cooperation as well as the sound development of Japanese and global economy by supporting the socioeconomic development, recovery or economic stability of developing regions.
They have been collaborating with Iran on avariety of projects ever since they opened their office in Tehran in 1975.
Ecotourism has been one of the main focuses of the present administration and since the launch of this initiative in 2013, the number of natural tourist sites in Iran has grown from only 23 to over 320 at present.
In 2015, Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization streamlined and updated ecotourism regulations to facilitate activities in the sector.
Last year, the Department of Environment approved regulations pertaining to investment in ecotourism, amid concerns that tours of natural sites could take a toll on the environment. In 2016, the government announced a joint deal with Omid Entrepreneurship Fund to allocate 145 billion rials ($3.6 million) in the form of loans to ecolodge owners to help expand their operations.
The government plans to increase the number of eco-lodges in Iran to 2,000 by the end of the sixth five-year economic development plan (2016-21). The lodging facilities will be located in 500 villages across the country.