Working Group to Smooth Out Holiday, Travel Seasons

Working Group to Smooth Out Holiday, Travel SeasonsWorking Group to Smooth Out Holiday, Travel Seasons

A special working group has been formed in Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) to carry out an in-depth study on the holiday seasons in order to organize travel and accommodation plans.

The issue has been of major concern for years, due to its widespread effect on vast areas of the country, with serious economic impact.

The director general of marketing and advertisement of ICHHTO, Seyed Mohammad Kazem Kholdinasab, told the Persian daily, Donya-e Eghtesad the working group is the place for exchange of ideas, covering all aspects of the issue, and drawing up a comprehensive set of guidelines.

Iran’s tourism industry is obviously at the center, as it directly deals with many issues regarding holidays and traveling.

Currently the bulk of trips are taken during Nowruz and the summer holidays, and to specific destinations. Other interesting places with huge touristic potential are being neglected for a variety of reasons. Even the most visited areas face critically low rate of traveling during low travel seasons.

Addressing this issue is one of the main targets of ICHHTO and aims of the working group.

He spoke of a proposal to move some holidays including some birth anniversaries and national days of mourning to the weekend, adding however that it necessitates meticulous planning, and a thorough look at the feasibility of the proposal.

Several meetings with officials and experts in the interior ministry, education ministry, Islamic Parliament (Majlis) Research Center, and other related institutions and organizations have been held to discuss in detail more effective distribution of holidays throughout the year as well as increasing the weekend holidays to two days which according to experts will lead to productivity; something that will benefit the employers both in state and private sectors, he added.

Studies in other countries have shown a direct relationship between the productivity of the work force and having regular fixed holidays. It also positively impacts the aptitude of students.

Responding to criticisms on the negative impact on productivity of the proposals of reducing working hours and increasing the number of holidays, he said at a glance it would appear that it could interfere with productivity but a more in-depth look shows it helps increase work-force moral and motivation.

Following debates on the issue, the bill on organizing holidays seems to be back on the agenda of administrative organizations.

Based on the bill a total of 44 hours a week is set as mandatory working hours.  During the first half of the Iranian year (spring and summer, March 21 – March 22), Thursdays will be included in weekend holidays.

They will be off during the second half of the year only in the metropolitan areas.  Other holidays will include 15 religious dates, 4 national holidays, 5 days off for the New Year (Nowruz), 3-day holiday in summer, a 4-day holiday during winter, 52 Fridays, and 27 Thursdays which makes a total of 110 public holidays.