ICHHTO Suspends Permits for Vacation Rentals

ICHHTO Suspends Permits for Vacation Rentals ICHHTO Suspends Permits for Vacation Rentals

Tourism authorities will no longer issue permits for new vacation rentals to organize the affairs of lodging facilities and buy time for the beleaguered hotel industry to revive.

According to Mohammad Moheb-Khodaei, tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, vacation rentals should not pose a threat to the hotel industry, although they have already inflicted losses on the industry.

“The licensed rental rooms throughout the country will not stop operations, but new applications will not receive permits until further notice,” Mehr News Agency quoted the official as saying.

Moheb-Khodaei added that private-owned lodging spaces should be organized and go under the management of an authorized organization.

A vacation rental is the short-term renting out of a fully-furnished accommodation, from a house or an apartment in the city to a cabin in the woods, by the homeowner.

They are considered an affordable alternative to hotels, especially in a country like Iran where hotels are prone to overcharging and failing to provide services in accordance with their star rating.

However, officials link the gradual decline in the occupancy rate in most Iranian hotels partly to people’s financial situation but mainly to the proliferation of these lodging places.

While they have never been illegal, vacation rentals never operated under the strict supervision of ICHHTO, or any other entity. 

“That is why hoteliers’ complaints have so far come to no avail,” Moheb-Khodaei said.

Hotel owners have repeatedly been critical of tourism authorities for supporting vacation rental, as they claim that these accommodations lower the standards of services and cause trouble for guests. Additionally, they are not subject to any legal regulations or even compelled to pay taxes, hence they threaten the survival of the hotel industry.

Nevertheless, experts say that it is the right of any tourist to select between a vacation home, hotel, or other types of accommodation, and the elimination of alternative facilities is an infringement on the travelers’ rights. They believe that instead of questioning the operation of vacation rentals, policies must be devised so that these homes are officially recognized, compelled to meet standards and abide by regulations.

ICHHTO's recent policy is not aimed at eliminating the rentals, but to enforce standards there while preserving the rights of hotels.


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