People, Travel

Joint Workgroup to Review, Enforce Tourism Regulations

Joint Workgroup to Review, Enforce Tourism RegulationsJoint Workgroup to Review, Enforce Tourism Regulations

A workgroup comprising representatives of private stakeholders and Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization will be formed to review tourism regulations, devise policies and oversee their implementation.

The decision was made on Saturday during a meeting in Tehran between Zahra Ahmadipour, the head of ICHHTO, and key players in the private sector, the organization's website reported. The decision has led to the suspension of an article devised in November 2016 by ICHHTO, which stated that the organization was the only entity with the right to approve the formation of tourism associations.

"The workgroup will include five members from the private sector and we shall work with the authorities to devise a comprehensive plan to develop Iran's tourism," Jamshid Hamzehzadeh, the head of Iranian Hoteliers' Association, said after the meeting. People representing travel agencies, tour operators and tour guides were also present at the meeting.

ICHHTO and tourism players in the private sector have had a tense relationship for years, with the organization accusing the private sector of being more concerned with lining their own pockets than providing quality services.

In response, private enterprises (particularly hotel owners) claim ICHHTO meddles in their affairs and wants to undermine their independence. Almost all private tourism stakeholders support a recent proposal by lawmakers to turn the organization into a ministry, giving the parliament oversight over its activities and obliging its chief to answer to legislators when summoned.

Currently, the organization and its head are only answerable to the president and the Council of Ministers.

This is not the first time the two sides have agreed to work with one another; only time will tell if they will be able to cooperate this time around.


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