Lawmakers Vote to Create Iran Tourism Ministry

Lawmakers Vote to Create Iran Tourism MinistryLawmakers Vote to Create Iran Tourism Ministry

The bill to convert Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization to a ministry was approved by a majority of votes during an open session of the Parliament after going through extensive debate.  

The controversial law was passed by 137 votes in favor and 41 against, with one abstention, out of 195 lawmakers present at the session, IRNA reported. Some lawmakers opted out of the voting.  

Under the plan, the ICHHTO will turn into a ministry with all its current duties and authorities with no expansion in its administrative structure and workforce. 

Any possible costs arising from the change will be covered by savings in government expenses.

The legislation stipulates that all the property and human resources of the organization should be handed over to the new ministry. 

The duties of the new entity will be like that of the former ICHHTO until the government submits proposed modifications to the Majlis for approval within a maximum time frame of one year, a provision reads. 

The law bans any increase in the workforce, facilities and expenses of the ministry while the Sixth Development Plan (2016-21) is in effect. 

Parliament had earlier voted against the bill in early May. The outlines of the plan failed to pass the legislature at the time.

Differing Views 

The idea of conversion has met differing 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.

Critics, on the other hand, say any such decision will temporarily halt the implementation of tourism plans, setting back progress for a very long time.

The plan was first signed by 114 members of parliament and discussed in the parliament in April 2017.

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