People, Travel

Interest Growing in Restoration of Historical Sites

Interest Growing in Restoration of Historical Sites
Interest Growing in Restoration of Historical Sites

About 10% of all historical buildings owned by the Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places (known by its Persian acronym SAABTA) have been ceded to private investors for restoration, said SAABTA chief, Mohammad Reza Pouyandeh.

As reported on the fund's official website, Pouyandeh said 80 sites throughout the country have been ceded to the private sector for restoration and revitalization over the past 10 years.

To restore ancient buildings and make them profitable, the fund launched a plan to cede historical buildings to the private sector so long as they are repurposed into hotels, restaurants or lodging places.

According to Pouyandeh, before the present government took office in 2013, only 10 buildings were handed over to private investors.

"But in the past three years, we've ceded 70 structures for restoration," he added.

However, according to Gholamreza Misaqian, the head of Preservation and Restoration of Historical Sites Office at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization,  the government is funding the restoration of 600 historical structures across the country, ISNA reported.

SAABTA aims to cede 100 buildings to the private sector every year for restoration, which means a total of 1,084 buildings will be ready for use by the end of the 2025Vision Plan.

The sites must be repurposed into traditional-style accommodation or dining places.

A country with a rich history, Iran is home to a large number of old mansions and buildings that can contribute to the country's nascent tourism industry if managed appropriately and restored carefully. 

Reportedly, 60 restoration projects were offered to as many foreign investors in the last Iranian year (started March 20, 2016) and work is underway on 26 of those projects.

Officials hope to compensate for Iran's woefully underdeveloped hotel sector by increasing the sector's capacity to host tourists by restoring old mansions and turning them into lodging facilities.

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