Tourism in 6th FYDP

Tourism in 6th FYDPTourism in 6th FYDP

In spite of Iran’s potential to become a top tourist destination, the lack of attention given to tourism in the country’s five-year development plans prevented the progress of an industry that is thriving in most other countries with less potential.

In the Fourth (2004-09) and Fifth (2010-15) FYDPs, tourism development was addressed under the “cultural” chapter, but lackluster efforts ensured none of the outlined objectives was met, despite tourism officials constantly pointing to the importance of the industry and the need to develop infrastructure, the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.

Last week, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei announced the general policies of the sixth FYDP (2016-21) in a letter to President Hassan Rouhani. The outlines have been compiled in 80 articles under chapters titled “economy,” “information technology and communications,” “social,” “security and defense,” “foreign policy,” “judicial and legal”, “cultural” and “science, technology and innovation”.

  A Separate Chapter

In the Fifth Plan, tourism was not properly addressed, according to Esmaeil Qaderi, a faculty member at the Allameh Tabatabaei University’s Tourism Management Department.

“Articles 12, 13 and 14—only three articles—explicitly outline tourism objectives,” he says.

The articles called for a dedicated tourism fund to be set up, permits to be issued for private travel and tourism institutions and unions to be established to oversee the progress and development of the industry.

Qaderi believes tourism needs to have its own chapter in Iran’s development plans, but says since the industry is not getting a separate chapter in the sixth FYDP, it would be best to place it under the “economy” chapter.

“The ‘cultural’ chapter is vast and covers many things, but its low budget hampers tourism development.”

  Realistic Goals

Experts believe a good tourism plan is one that factors in domestic and international events, because tourism is an open system easily influenced by international goings-on.

Ambitious plans are more likely to fail and usually end up wasting a significant amount of resources, so to develop the industry, realistic goals and well thought-out schemes are essential.

There have been rumors that the sixth FYDP targets five times more incoming tourists. If true, and assuming the five million incoming tourists’ figure is accurate, the country aims to draw 25 million tourists by 2021.

“To reach that figure, measures must be taken,” Qaderi says, adding that current infrastructure is in no way able to support 25 million tourists.

“If we are to increase incoming tourists fivefold, we need to increase our capacity to host tourists accordingly.”

The expert believes securing a hefty budget and building hotels is of utmost importance and “must not be neglected”.

Qaderi says expanding the capacity of Iran’s transportation system and improving the quality of service, gaining the trust of the international community, raising Iran’s global profile and training experts in various fields of travel and tourism must be considered when devising the sixth FYDP.

He also stresses the need to expand e-commerce and pave the way for international credit cards, such as MasterCard and Visa, to be used in Iran—although the latter is contingent on the outcome of negotiations between Iran and P5+1, expected to conclude on July 7.