Religious Tourism of Iran
The religious sites in Iran mix religion, philosophy, art and life and are priority in the criteria of choice of foreign tourists. Viewed from this angle, the problems of tourism and its development can be easily solved. There are multiple reasons.
First, all countries invest in the tourism industry according to their potential and make a considerable profit. Turkey, for example, before exploiting its architectural riches, has used its natural sites and transformed its beaches and lakes into tourist sites.
In Iran, what asset should be used to develop tourism? Are there historical remains or cities that can attract tourists and at the same time have a connection to religion?
Assuming we can link tourism and religion, there is a good chance that Western tourists will be ipso facto eliminated ... and the problem of the development of tourism, thereby settled.
Iran is, in the region, a particularly rich country whose large population can present advantages for tourism.
The Deputy Director of the "Free Zone" of Ars stated that the studies made had shown that Muslims were very interested in our country and that it was, therefore, imperative to facilitate their entry procedures on our country. territory. A "villages and health" campaign was also launched to develop tourism in small towns and organize family accommodation.
However, some important points need to be taken into consideration. First, the fact that the low rate of religious tourism is directly related to the low rate of tourism in general. Then, to develop religious tourism, it is essential to direct tourism towards the countryside rather than the cities, which represent a more favorable ground given their more religious and traditional culture. This requires, of course, the creation of road and hotel infrastructures. Work must also be done on site to prepare local people to welcome these tourists.
We have been talking about the village of Abyaneh for years, with its religious and cultural specificities, and nothing has been done in that direction.
Is the construction of a hotel so problematic?
In addition, the development of tourism in the countryside could be the solution to the problem of rural exodus and unemployment, especially since there are sometimes extremely interesting vestiges.
Rahman Macapa, director of the Office of Tourism and Cultural Heritage said that the previous government had decided to carry out further studies in this area to establish priorities and objectives and find satisfactory solutions.
He specified that "religious" tourism was particularly important and could be the keystone of Iranian tourism.
In this project, the city of Mashhad would become the center of religious tourism and investment in this city would be a valuable source of income. The creation of information networks, at a national and international level, is one of their priorities. Tourism could be a means of establishing peace, reconciliation, and a better understanding of peoples, and for this purpose it is important to facilitate the entry of tourists and to reduce administrative and customs formalities.
Mr. Khatib, a professor of economics at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, said at the Mashhad tourism exhibition that religious sites are of paramount importance to tourism. It could be at the origin of a return of capital in this country which has enormous cultural, historical, religious and natural potentialities. Tourists who come to Iran come precisely for these cultural, historical and religious advantages and not for possible recreation and entertainment that they can find elsewhere in abundance.
This point has not yet been well understood because once this difference is recognized, investments could be made in this area.
It is obvious that, apart from Mashhad, many other religious sites exist in the country and that it would be enough to renovate and refurbish them to attract many pilgrims and tourists.
It remains, of course, that currently Mashhad and Qom are the two poles of religious tourism. For both cities, there are still problems that need to be addressed. The high population rate and the benefits of tourism to alleviate poverty in the region are important points in the studies to date. Unfortunately, nothing systematic has been done yet.
Countries like Egypt, which have a pre-Islamic culture, use their religious wealth optimally.
It is clear that the benefits of religious tourism are not only economic but also cultural, as they allow tourists to get to know our country better.
The conference on tourism that took place on August 18, at the Al Azhar Mosque University in Egypt, focused on two themes: tourism development and the Islamic economy. Suggestions on how to develop and make more attractive religious tourism in Egypt have been formulated, which could be of use to the Iranian authorities.
An important point to note is that tourism is not limited to religious sites, but extends to all historical sites, customs, culture, art, and literature.
The development of religious tourism means the development of tourism in general.