Promoting Sustainable Tourism in Iran Logo

The Promoting Responsible Tourism for Heritage Protection and Sustainable Development project is co-funded by DEVCO (European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development) with a view to expanding economic opportunities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, in four provinces (Khorasan Razavi, Fars, Hormozgan and Bushehr).

The objective is to strengthen effective CSO engagement in local governance and development processes in the targeted areas, thus contributing to participated and sustainable growth.

The lead applicant is Atlantide, the Italian co-applicants are Consorzio Itaca, NECOS and Geofilos while the Iranian ones are Marefat Pardis Toos and Plan for the Land.

Kish dancer Iran

Context needs and analysis

Iran has witnessed an increase in tourism demand for heritage and cultural sites and experiences.

Safeguarding common heritage resources amidst intense pressure of needs and demands of tourism development requires, at a global and local level, strong local and international cooperation and well-informed public and local decision-makers.

Economically the Islamic Republic of Iran is hit by re-imposed sanctions, in this context the international community needs to take on greater responsibility to support the efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to foster innovative and alternative economic opportunities for its people. This cooperation project will assist local governments in developing and promoting responsible tourism.

Kish tourism fun Iran flyboard sea activities

Action results

This project will contribute to:

  1. Raise public awareness (exhibitions/fairs/ seminars) on the determinants and long-term economic benefit of heritage protection and responsible tourism, in order to:
    • inform the community so that they can benefit from and promote responsible heritage tourism;
    • engage better in determining heritage (cultural, religious, natural) protection.
  2. Build capacity amongst key local stakeholders (municipalities, NGOs, business associations and professionals) in order to:
    • develop a participated Heritage Protection Strategy and Responsible Tourism Action Plan;
    • enhance the contribution of local cultural and religious heritage actors in managing sustainable tourism efficiently, responsibly, and sustainably based on the local community context and needs.
  3. Design and promote Responsible tourism branding and marketing for four Iranian provinces and Responsible tourism itineraries and packages which will be developed for four Iranian municipalities and subsequently marketed in EU and other countries.
  4. Produce technical training modules (on-site and online) which will be prepared on participatory local development, heritage protection and developing tourism businesses, while Toolkits on managing responsible tourism will be designed for cultural and religious heritage professionals, businesses and local governments.
  5. Open new possibilities for collaboration at local and international levels by training traditional and emerging tourism and heritage related professions and promoting exposure and knowledge-exchange amongst development actors in Iran and Italy.
Bushehr tipical house Iran

Expected impact

This project is expected to expand economic opportunities and stimulate tourism demand through provincial brands and targeted responsible tourism offers, by:

  • piloting new approaches in Iran for responsible tourism;
  • identifying ways to better integrate tourism with tangible and intangible religious, cultural, natural heritage protection as a competitive factor;
  • promoting the provincial brand and attracting new tourism potentials, as well as building citizen’s awareness on the same;
  • mutual learning amongst Iranian and European entities to economically benefit local communities while contributing to sustainable development.
team work iran suistanble tourism project

Project Activities

Project activities will be implemented in selected municipalities of the four provinces of Khorasan Razavi, Fars, Hormozgan and Bushehr and will include:

ACTIVITY 1 - Create a Community of Practise for Responsible Tourism

  1. Select local organisations (NGOs, business associations, municipalities) from four target provinces, interested in promoting responsible cultural and religious heritage tourism in their towns/cities.
  2. Conduct capacity needs and gap assessment of selected organisations.

ACTIVITY 2 - Develop and manage online platform for distance learning and responsible tourism marketing

  1. Develop a responsible tourism web site and an e-learning platform.
  2. Develop online training and evaluation tools and standards for training activities.
  3. Develop and promote responsible tourism initiatives in the four target provinces.

ACTIVITY 3 - Conduct a training programme on Responsible Tourism training programme

  1. Develop tailor made training modules and tool kits, based on capacity needs of cultural and religious heritage protection and responsible tourism actors – organisations, local authorities, business associations, heritage professionals.
  2. Train local cultural and religious tourism stakeholders in building public awareness on linkages between cultural and religious  heritage protection and responsible tourism.
  3. Train local NGOs and concerned local authorities on designing a heritage protection strategy and responsible cultural and religious tourism development action plans for municipalities.
  4. Train tourism actors, especially tourism businesses, in using toolkits for managing tourism such that it enhances the heritage capital and sustainable tourism.
  5. Produce targeted media products on local cultural and religious resources to promote responsible tourism amongst local people, market the provincial brands and support the training programme.
Work in progress promoting sustainable tourism in Iran

ACTIVITY 4 - Develop Heritage Protection Strategy and Responsible Tourism Action Plan

  1. Conduct value chain analysis for target municipalities to identify tourism opportunities impacting heritage protection, develop guidelines for environmentally and socially sustainable tourism, understand the tourism market and customer needs and develop targeted marketing.
  2. Building people’s awareness on value and socio-economic benefits of heritage protection and responsible tourism (exhibitions/fairs/ seminars) by trained organisations and local authorities.
  3. Development a Heritage Protection Strategy and Responsible Tourism Action Plan for select municipalities in four provinces by trained NGOs and local authorities.

ACTIVITY 5 - Expand cultural and religious tourism livelihoods and business opportunities

  1. Develop a provincial cultural/religious heritage tourism brand and responsible tourism offers.
  2. Piloting of tourism offers in select municipalities, marketing the brand and linking to tour operators in EU.
  3. Participation of the selected municipalities in a tourism specific exhibition in Italy /EU.
  4. Sharing Project Results and lessons learned.
  5. Production of articles and newsletters on heritage protection during the project lifetime to promote responsible heritage tourism.

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