B&Bs Can Help Hotel Industry Grow
When it comes to bed and breakfast accommodations, hoteliers have vastly different opinions: Some call for banning them while others believe their supervised operation can be a boon for the industry.
Mehrdad Tavatli, chief executive of Iran Touring and Tourism Investment Company, is among those who believe B&Bs (also called vacation rentals) should be allowed to operate, as long as they are regulated.
"If they operate within a framework, they'll be able to help the hotel industry grow," Tavatli was quoted as saying by travel news website Donyayesafar.com.
"They offer different services and prices, and have their own guests."
In November, Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization decided to license these establishments, thereby legalizing their operations much to the dismay of some hoteliers.
"This is poisonous to [the industry's] survival … We won't be able to continue like this," Mohammad Ali Farrokhmehr, the head of Tehran Province's Association of Hotel and Hotel Apartments, told ISNA in an interview shortly after ICHHTO's decision.
Hoteliers have long complained about the prevalence of vacation rentals, blaming them for the dwindling occupancy rates.
“Hotel occupancy rates have taken a hit because people opt to stay in vacation homes, since the government recognizes their (homeowners) right to work,” Jamshid Hamzezadeh, president of Iran’s Hoteliers Society, said last year.
However, tourism officials support B&Bs, with Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at ICHHTO, saying, "It’s logical to implement projects that have produced results in other countries. We need to learn and implement successful ideas."
Experts say it is the right of any tourist to be able to select between a vacation home, hotel, or other types of accommodation, and the elimination of alternative facilities from the tourism market is an infringement on travelers’ rights.
Iran’s lack of acceptable lodging facilities is often mentioned as a major factor hampering the efforts of the government to become a top tourist attraction. Therefore, allowing “licensed homeowners” to rent out their property will no doubt help alleviate some of the pressure on the industry.