In Concord with the Private Sector

In Concord with the Private SectorIn Concord with the Private Sector

Investors of exemplary tourist regions from across the country met for the first time in Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) to review and discuss the investment challenges.

The gathering was in the presence of Masud Soltanifar, head of ICHHTO, Saeed Shirkavand, investment and planning deputy of ICHHTO, and a number of officials from the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development and the Ministry of Agricultural Jihad.

Currently, there are over 1,100 exemplary tourist regions in the country, whereas before, only 7 or 8 of such regions had been identified, Soltanifar said.

To help remove the barriers in the investments on the exemplary tourist regions, relevant ministries and the director general of Bank Markazi ‘Central Bank’ were consulted.


Soltanifar emphasized the importance of the meetings where ideas are exchanged between officials and patrons of tourism. “There should be an environment where we, as servants of the state, and you, the private patrons, can consult each other and create synergy,” he said.

Today, the governing bodies have an opportunity to utilize their capacities in realization of the goals of tourism sector, he said, and asked the private patrons of tourism to share their ideas on the bills to be passed in the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan, starting 2016, regarding tourism.

The call for private sector participation was made two months ago, but contributions have not been forthcoming. “We want the private sector to play an active role in the ratification of tourism related bills in the sixth plan.”


The mandate for better safety and security of foreign tourists has been finally issued by the Supreme National Security Council. The mandate clarifies how military, law enforcement and security organizations should improve the safety and security of the tourists. Soltanifar regarded the mandate as a significant forward step. “The secure environment, palpable throughout the country today, has made Iran a safe tourist destination among the countries of the region.”

The tourists who visited Iran aboard trains remarked on the safety of the country. This positive atmosphere is a major factor in attracting foreign tourists.

There are no exact figures on applicants for traveling to Iran, but by all indications, more European and American tourists are expected to visit the country in the new Christian calendar year.

  National Development Fund of Iran

The National Development Fund of Iran head, along with a number of bank managers were consulted on how tourism investors can be supported by the NDFI. The tasks were allocated among bank managers – an indication of the government’s determination to resolve the challenges of the tourism sector, Soltanifar said.

ICHHTO is set to resolve all the problems involving property rights and the banks in the exemplary tourist regions. Here, the cooperation of the private sector was sought.

  Effective Measures

The ICHHTO head also enumerated constructive steps in visa affairs, namely facilitation of visa issuance, visa-free travel, extension of airport visa, and authentication of electronic visa. “Our embassies act fast in visa issuance.”He pointed out that the 4 Iranian consulates in Germany issue 500 visas per day.

Development in tourism is a major key in cultural interaction. Iran is one of the first 50 tourist destinations in the world. Some media predict that the country will be among the top 25 tourist destinations in the near future.

Close to 900 tourist projects are under construction. By the end of the year (March 2015), a considerable number of hotels will become operational.

Establishment of new tourist attractions can help attract more tourists. Encouraging packages are effective in this regard. Currently, tourism is the drive that can pull Iran’s economy out of stagnation.

With or without a final nuclear agreement with the P5+1, Iran’s economy will see brighter days, he asserted. The drop in oil price and the current fluctuations have been included in the budget plan, submitted by President Rouhani to the Majlis. “With the people’s support, under the guidance of the Supreme Leader and the prudence of the government, we hope to see brighter days,” Soltanifar said.