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Tourism officials say cooperation of the public and private sectors is integral  to developing the industry.
Tourism officials say cooperation of the public and private sectors is integral  to developing the industry.

Decide What You Want, ICHHTO Tells Investors

Investors, particularly those active in the hotel sector, have long charged the government of “meddling” in their affairs and have made repeated calls for more autonomy
All activities in the fields of tourism and hospitality can enjoy 100% tax holidays for three to 13 years

Decide What You Want, ICHHTO Tells Investors

In order to get on the same page with the government, the private sector must decide what level of involvement they want from the administration, a senior official at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said on Thursday.
Investors—especially hotel owners—and the ICHHTO have often found themselves at loggerheads on a variety of issues, with the main problem boiling down to hoteliers accusing the government of meddling in their affairs or not doing enough to support the sector.
"On the one hand they argue that the government is too involved, and on the other hand they criticize us for not being involved enough," Saeed Shirkavand, deputy for investment and planning at the organization, said at a meeting with representatives of privately-run tourism associations in Qom.
"You need to decide how involved you want us to be," he added.
Investors, particularly those active in the hotel sector, have long charged the organization of “meddling” in their affairs and have made repeated calls for more autonomy.
“Restrictions imposed by the government are off-putting," Alireza Khaef, a member of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said last week.
This is while the same groups also blame the government of failing to support investment due to crippling bureaucracy and outdated regulations.
In an effort to appease both foreign and Iranian investors, the government announced last month that all activities in the fields of tourism and hospitality can enjoy 100% tax holidays for three to 13 years, depending on the location of the business.
Furthermore, the ICHHTO has said it will deregulate hotel prices, allowing hotels to set their own rates based on demand and location.

  Loans for Incomplete Projects
To further appeal to entrepreneurs, the government has made arrangements for the National Development Fund to offer loans to investors to help complete unfinished projects, according to Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at ICHHTO.
"In recent years the government has strongly supported investors in this sector in an attempt to fully exploit the country's potential," he said at a separate meeting with tourism associations in Arak, Markazi Province.
The official stressed that the players in the sector must act in coordination to gain the desired results.    
"No other government body is allowed to interfere in tourism investment; the Supreme Supervision Board has emphasized that all investors must operate and follow a defined set of rules under the supervision of ICHHTO," Movahed said.
Pointing to the hotel business, he said that hoteliers must take advantage of trained staff to improve their business and boost revenue.
"Hotel staff must be sent on educational tours and receive training…we need a revolution in the hospitality sector," he added.

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