Hotel Construction in Isfahan

Hotel Construction in IsfahanHotel Construction in Isfahan

Governor-General of Isfahan Province Rasoul Zargar recently said the hotels of provincial capital Isfahan are fully booked until late December.

While on the surface this may indicate the city’s prospering tourism industry, but a close look will reveal that Isfahan is lacking hotels to accommodate all visitors.

With over 100 historical monuments, Isfahan’s tourism potential is well known, but insufficient lodging facilities hinder progress. The entire province has one five-star and four four-star hotels, Jam-e-Jam Online reports.

Even though provincial officials have recently issued directives and facilitated loans to help build more hotels, experts believe these measures are far from adequate. Last year, 250,000 foreign travelers visited Isfahan, while the province’s top hotels have a total of 600 rooms.

  Bank Loans Hard to Get

“Isfahan’s tourism industry has hit a wall due to lack of accommodation,” says Ebrahim Pourfaraj, chairman of Iran Tourism Operators’ Association. “The opportunity to build hotels is slipping away.”

Mayor of Isfahan Mehdi Jamalinejad echoes Pourfaraj’s sentiments. He also believes hoteliers have difficulty managing hotels.

“As long as existing hotels face problems, we can’t move forward,” he said.

Jamalinejad criticized banks for their lack of cooperation with hotel owners and said lodging facilities would be able to improve their services only if banks provided hotels with loans.

Mehdi Narimani, head of Isfahan Hotel Owners’ Association, marches to a different tune. He says Isfahan “does not have an accommodation problem”, and instead faults travelers for wanting to stay in five-star establishments.

“There are 83 hotels and 80 hostels in Isfahan, capable of accommodating up to 20,000 people,” he said.

  Attracting Investors

Until last summer, investors were loath to built hotels in Isfahan. The last four-star establishment was built in 2005 and has only 93 rooms.

Prompted by the lack of activity in the hotel construction sector, Isfahan City Council issued a directive granting tax exemption to hotel construction projects to help attract investors.

According to the directive, building hotel apartments, hostels and four- and five-star hotels in less than five years would not be taxed.

The move seems to have worked, for city officials report that five new hotels are under construction and 10 unfinished hotel projects have restarted.

According to Jamalinejad, the construction of new hotels will increase the tourist accommodation capacity of Isfahan by 50%.

The mayor said his office has received a number of proposals from foreign companies to build hotels in Isfahan and a company called ICAT leads the pack.

Jamalinejad said ICAT has proposed to build a five-star international hotel and has provided the mayor’s office with the designs.

The establishment would have 38 floors and contain 330 rooms.

  Tourism the Way to Go

Isfahan is Iran’s most industrialized city and experts believe the city has no more room left to build industrial units. Therefore, it serves to reason to push for the development of tourism, which is a green industry.

Easing regulations to attract domestic and foreign investors will go a long way in kick-starting Isfahan’s stagnant tourism industry.