449% Rise in Private Investment in Historical Buildings

449% Rise in Private Investment in Historical Buildings449% Rise in Private Investment in Historical Buildings

Private investments for restoration of cultural heritage have seen a staggering 449% increase since the current administration came to power in 2013 compared to the previous government.

According to an article on the website of Iran’s Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places (known by its Persian acronym Sabta), more than 800 billion rials ($21 million) have been injected into the restoration of historical sites during the tenure of President Hassan Rouhani.

To restore ancient buildings and make them profitable, Sabta is implementing a plan to cede historical buildings to the private sector that repurposes them into hotels, restaurants or traditional lodging places.

According to an earlier report by Tejarat-e Farda, the fund handed over only 10 historical buildings to the private sector between 2006 and 2013, fetching only 185 billion rials ($4.8 million) from investments.

Furthermore, two of the contracts (Masoudieh Mansion in Tehran and Abolmaali Bathhouse and Fahadan House in Yazd Province) were dissolved due to the private owners' mismanagement and damage inflicted on the buildings, IRNA reported.

Under the government of President Rouhani, about 80 historical monuments were added to the list and currently 70% of 269 monuments listed by the fund have been transferred to the private sector and are undergoing restoration.

The target is to cede about 100 buildings to the private sector for restoration every year, which means 1,084 buildings will be ready for use by the end of the 2025 Vision Plan.

Officials hope to compensate for Iran's woefully underdeveloped hotel sector by increasing the sector's capacity to host tourists by restoring old mansions and turning them into traditional-style lodging facilities.

Cultural heritage sites have a rich background and help with brand building.  

Officials believe that investment in Iran’s historical places is safe, profitable and quick-yielding, thanks to foreign tourists’ inclination to take up accommodation in ancient buildings and the relatively high number of domestic travelers.

Iran, a historical country, is home to a large number of old mansions and buildings, which can contribute to the country's nascent tourism industry if managed appropriately and restored carefully.

Italian and Swedish investors have recently expressed their readiness to fund the restoration and repurposing of historical houses in Kerman, Kashan and Isfahan.

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