People, Travel

Iran Handicrafts Set Non-Oil Export Record in 4 Months

Handicrafts Set Non-Oil Export Record in 4 MonthsHandicrafts Set Non-Oil Export Record in 4 Months

Iran’s handicraft exports in the first four months of the current Iranian year (started March 21) increased by 45.5% compared with the same period of last year, marking a record among the country's non-oil exports.

"Based on recent data, handicraft exports earned $250 million, which constitute a noticeable growth in the country's foreign exchange revenue," Pouya Mahmoudian, the director of Trade and Exports Office at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said.

"However, total revenue is estimated to be higher, as handmade jewelries and suitcase trades are not included in the figures," she was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Isfahan, the hub of Iranian handicrafts, registered a significant 334% growth in the field, more than all other provinces.

"Nevertheless, it still has a long way to go to reach the defined targets," she said.

The province was named a World Crafts City in September 2015 by UNESCO's World Crafts Council.  From the total of 297 types of handicrafts in Iran, 196 originate in Isfahan, creating jobs for over 40,000 people. Given the steady progress in the field, officials predict the revenue from handicrafts will hit $1 billion by the end of the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22), with Isfahan playing an important role.

Pointing to efforts made for the sector's development, Mahmoudian said online handicrafts shops have increased from two websites in 2013 to over 200 websites in 2017.

"Efforts are underway to establish links with international online shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay to expand Iran's handicraft market," she said.

Plans to hold creativity workshops and entrepreneurship conferences have been influential and will continue.

"Two workshops have been scheduled in Tehran and Isfahan," she said, without elaborating.

Along with China and India, Iran is among the world’s top three producers of handicrafts. Among the numerous types of handicrafts in Iran, the most well known are felts, tribal rugs, glasswork, pottery, ceramics and tiles, traditional furniture, copper and brass ornaments, woodwork (including mosaic, wood carving and inlaid), enamel work and engravings.

Multiple small-, medium-sized and large production units are active in the country's handicrafts sector.

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