Over the past several months, more hotel owners in Iran have come out in support of restoring old houses and repurposing them into lodging facilities by investing in such endeavors.
Mohammad Qanei, the president of Hoteliers Society in Khorasan Razavi Province, is the latest person to throw his support behind such projects.
“Restoring old buildings can be a boon to the industry,” he told the official website of Iran’s Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places (known by its Persian acronym Saabta).
Qanei said hotel owners are more than willing to invest in restoration projects, “as long as conditions are favorable for cooperation”.
Previously, Mehdi Narimani and Ali Moeinzadeh, the heads of the society’s chapters in Isfahan and Kerman respectively, had expressed interest in investing in restoration of historical sites.
To restore ancient buildings and make them profitable, Saabta has initiated a plan to cede historical buildings to the private sector to be repurposed into hotels, restaurants or lodging places.
The target is to cede about 100 buildings to the private sector for restoration every year, which means a total of 1,084 buildings will be ready for use by the end of the 2025 Vision Plan.
Reportedly, 60 restoration projects were offered to as many foreign investors in the last Iranian year (March 2015-16) and work is underway on 26 of those projects.
According to Saabta, to facilitate investments on old buildings, foreign and private sector investors who put their money in Iranian historical buildings can get 100% tax exemption for five to 13 years, based on the scale and location of the project.
Italian and Swedish investors have recently expressed readiness to fund the restoration and repurposing of historical houses in Iran’s ancient cities such as Kerman, Kashan and Isfahan.
Iran, a historical country, is home to a large number of old mansions and buildings, which can contribute to the country’s nascent tourism industry if managed appropriately and restored carefully.
Officials hope to compensate for Iran’s woefully underdeveloped hotel sector by increasing the sector’s capacity to host tourists by restoring old mansions and turning them into traditional-style lodging facilities.