DOE, ICHHTO sign ecotourism agreement

Tehran, May 14, IRNA – Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) and the Department of the Environment (DOE) signed an agreement on sustainable development of ecotourism.

The agreement was signed Monday by DOE Chief Massoumeh Ebtekar and the head of ICHHTO, Masoud Soltanifar.

Speaking in the ceremony, Ebtekar said development of tourism should not lead to destruction of environment.

“The agreement signed between both organizations will help DOE use the capacity of tourism sector and take effective steps for environmental protection,” she said.

Ebtekar said the people, university professors, students and mass media should be invited to help develop the tourism sector.

“Due to its special location, Iran has high biodiversity and natural advantages,” she noted.

Ebtekar noted that Hirkani and Arasbaran forests, located in Mazandaran and East Azarbaijan provinces respectively, are among top 10 biodiversity hotspots of the world.

She stressed that the trash disposed by tourists in the forests of Gilan and Mazandaran provinces are very harmful for the environment.

Ebtekar said Iran is located on the route of migratory birds and this is a valuable tourism capacity, as it attracts many tourists every year.

The agreement is aimed at expanding cooperation between DOE and ICHHTO, promote ecotourism and environmental protection, and facilitate the issuance of permits for ecotourism tours in regions managed by DOE.

Tourism is one of the world’s fastest growing industries and is a major source of income for many countries. As it is people-oriented, tourism also provides many jobs and helps revitalize local economies.

However, like other forms of development, tourism can also face challenges, such as social dislocation, loss of cultural heritage, economic dependence and ecological degradation.

People today seek more responsible holidays. These include various forms of alternative or sustainable tourism, such as nature tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism.

All tourism activities of whatever motivation—holidays, business travel, conferences, adventure travel and ecotourism—need to be sustainable.

Sustainable tourism is defined as tourism that respects both local people and the traveler, cultural heritage and the environment.

It seeks to provide people with an exciting and educational holiday that also benefits the people of the host country.



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