Iranian authorities will review the tourism potentials of 1,000 villages in the current Iranian year (started March 21) and draw up plans for those with the biggest potential.
Seyyed Abolfazl Razavi, vice president for rural development and deprived areas, said the government has identified more than 5,000 villages whose tourism industry could be developed.
“Some 1,000 villages that boast a rich history or unique arts and crafts will be studied this year,” he was quoted as saying by IRIB News.
Out of the 64,000 villages in the country, 33,000 have been deserted and 25,000 villages are each inhabited by less than 20 households. Officials hope to stop and possibly reverse rural-urban migration by developing rural tourism and creating jobs.
To that end, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization announced in May that it had developed a plan that would soon be implemented in 76 villages in the provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam, Sistan-Baluchestan, and Kurdestan.
Under the scheme, rural historical houses will be turned either into tourist and cultural attractions with craft workshops or accommodations for both Iranian and foreign tourists. The plan will benefit the original residents of the homes, besides creating work for the local people.
According to published data, the rural population in 1956 comprised 70% of the population of 19 million. In 2015 it had declined to 28% for a population of over 79 million.