0130 GMT February 25, 2018
Given that the ancient city of Susa has a history of around 7,000 years, Iran is among the most ancient countries in the world. During these long years, and under the reign of various empires and states in Iran, it has been tried to preserve its cultural heritage and historical monuments that represent Iranian Iranian architecture and cultural identity.
Nowadays, tourism is considered a profitable industry that has the ability to revolutionize the entire economy of a country. World Economic Forum published a report in May, 2017, in which, based on several factors including affordable prices, good infrastructures, acceptable public services, available transportation, high security and etc., Iran is introduced as the most affordable and most secure tourist destination.
There are more than one million historical sites, locations, areas and monuments in Iran, of which about 40,000 are registered nationally. 22 Iranian historical sites are also globally inscribed on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, of which six: (Shahr-e Sukhteh, Cultural Landscape of Meymand, Susa, Lut Desert, The Persian Qanat, and the Historical City of Yazd), along with two Intangible Cultural Heritage cases (the Nowruz and the preparation, meaning and appearance of Lavash and other flatbreads), were inscribed during the tenure of President Hassan Rouhani. In addition, 48 other sites in Iran are also listed in the tentative list to be nominated for the World Heritage list.
These historical and natural sites and monuments can transform Iran into a main tourist attraction in the world; something that many countries lack and try to attract tourists by building new monuments. With its numerous historical monuments and sites, Iran doesn't need to build new ones. However, in order to reduce exclusive enterprising and make use of these priceless cultural heritage in tourism infrastructure, the Iranian Government established the Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Cultural and Historical places, administered by Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO). This fund attracts investors from around the world through public auctions, and rents historical buildings in exchange for maintenance costs.
The Revitalization and Utilization Fund now manages 269 historical monuments in Iran, and the required legal capacities are granted to it by the Iranian Parliament and Government to revitalize and repair these valuable monuments to develop the tourism industry.
In the two years since the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), delegations from England, Italy, Spain and China have come to negotiate with the Revitalization and Utilization Fund on investing in Iran's caravanserais and historical monuments located along the Silk Road.
The increase in domestic and foreign investment in repairing the historical monuments and buildings is an indicator of the active tourism economy in Iran. When a historical/cultural monument is revived and taken back into the utilization cycle, many tourists will come to Iran. This can be considered a sign of successful international diplomatic relations of the Government.
One of the most important competitive advantages of Iran over other touristic countries is in recognizing the tastes of foreign tourists. Most of these tourists have experienced staying in five-star hotels, but when these historical buildings are revived by the private sector and taken back to the utilization cycle, tourists can stay in traditional and historical/cultural boutique hotels. This can be a special and unique experience for them.
The following places have been successfully revived and are ready to provide services to domestic as well as foreign tourists: Apadana Hotel in Shiraz, Saad Al-Saltaneh Caravanserai in Qazvin, Sadeghi House in Ardabil, Laleh Hotel in Yazd, Mostoufi House in Shustar, Kalantar Windcatcher House in Semnan, Haji Public Bath in Hamadan, Ameris House in Kashan, Yazdanpanah House in Qom, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai in Laat, Namir Garden in Taft, Shah Abbasi Caravanserai in Karaj, Salar Public Bath in Zanjan, and Gap Public Bath in Lorestan.
Given the opportunity provided by the JCPOA for Iran and other countries, investors from around the world can develop tourism infrastructures in Iran. The investments are guaranteed by the fact that, as in 2015, Iran managed to stand first in competitive tourism costs in 2017, and is still among the most economic tourist destinations in the world.