People, Travel

West Azarbaijan Launches First Ecolodge

Iran aims to increase the number of ecolodges to 2,000 by 2021.Iran aims to increase the number of ecolodges to 2,000 by 2021.

Leylaneh, a village in Sardasht County, is now home to West Azarbaijan Province's first ecolodge. 

Previously a rundown structure, the building was renovated and repurposed by a private investor to accommodate travelers.

It was officially launched on Jan. 21 after acquiring permits from provincial authorities, travel news website Safar reported.

Called Kordboum Kashaneh, the ecolodge covers about 161 square meters and manifests rural architecture. It contains a living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Those interested in staying at the ecolodge may refer to ( for more details.

It is located in an area with numerous natural and cultural attractions, including Shalmash Falls, the colorful rocks of Kani Geravan Spring, ancient hills of Rabat, Sardasht Jame' Mosque, Ghalatasian Bridge and Zab River, as well as forests and mountains. Its weather is generally cool and pleasant, but temperature drop to below freezing in winter.

Developing this type of accommodation has been on the agenda of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization for a while. The new approach is aimed at boosting rural tourism, handicrafts industry and agriculture as well as promoting local cuisine and other intangible heritage. 

The provincial office of ICHHTO "has received around 40 proposals for the construction of similar ecolodges, all of which are under review", said Jalil Jabbari, the head of the organization's West Azarbaijan office. 

"Ecolodges can greatly contribute to the development of rural tourism." The construction of ecolodges is a priority of the government, for which ICHHTO provides low-interest loans to investors.

"We encourage those interested to contact our offices for further information," Jabbari said.

Unlike hotels that have the same qualities regardless of their location, ecolodges demonstrate the unique features of their locale. They are often old homes that are restored to function as lodging and boarding places. 

These places offer the guests an experience of the region's traditional lifestyle and natural environment.

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 23 to over 320 at present. 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 ecolodges 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.

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