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The details of the plan are currently under study before a bill is tabled in the parliament for final approval.
The details of the plan are currently under study before a bill is tabled in the parliament for final approval.

ICHHTO Disapproves Plan to Establish Tourism Ministry

Mounesan has argued that the conversion will only enlarge the government body, which is against the goals of the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan

ICHHTO Disapproves Plan to Establish Tourism Ministry

Ali Asghar Mounesan, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, has expressed his disapproval of the plan seeking to convert the organization into a ministry.
Elevating ICHHTO’s status from a vice presidency to a ministry has been proposed multiple times over the past 10 years, but it failed to materialize.
Parliamentarians are in favor of the plan so as to bring the organization under their direct supervision. As things stand, the organization is presently only answerable to the president and his Cabinet.
During an interview on a radio channel, Mounesan stressed that the effectiveness of the decision depends on the rationale behind it, Mehr News Agency reported.  
“The Majlis has different means of monitoring the operations of executive organizations and ICHHTO does not have to become a ministry to be answerable to the parliament,” he said.   
The official believes that the organization has better collaboration with other entities as a vice presidency while the status of a ministry might create challenges in intersectoral relations.
“If confined to a change of title, the conversion will have no benefit except the enlargement of the government body, which is against the goals of the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2017-22),” he said.
Mounesan stressed that the elevated status would benefit ICHHTO only if it were to grant new privileges to the organization.
The idea of conversion has received different responses since it was first broached.
Lawmakers stress that it will give them greater oversight over the ministry’s performance as well as the authority to select the organization’s governing board.
Javad Heravi, the head of Majlis Tourism Group, had earlier argued that most developed countries with a strong travel market have a tourism ministry, which shows that elevating ICHHTO’s status can be a good thing.
Critics, on the other hand, say any such decision will temporarily halt the implementation of tourism plans, holding back progress for a very long time.
Others have stated that the emphasis on tourism sector and even labeling the would-be entity as “Tourism Ministry” would undermine the key role of cultural heritage and handicrafts.
The plan was first signed by 114 MPs and discussed in the parliament in April.
The general principles of the plan on converting ICHHTO into a ministry have been approved by Majlis Joint Commission. Its details are currently under study and after incorporating any changes, a bill would be tabled in the parliament for final approval.

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