Propoor Tourism in Iran
1. Background of Study Tourism is clearly of large importance for developing countries. Islamic Republic of Iran, by having great natural resources and historical back ground and heritages should be able to make a great use of these potentials to create a healthy and on growing economy.
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Recently, government of Iran has started to invest more on tourism sector of the country, but it is not easy for government to implement all the strategies they need for growth in the industry.
There are many issues which should be taken into consideration before applying those strategies. One of these issues is the population of poor people in the country, which is a great quantity from the overall population, doesn’t have any important role in this implementation and strategies or benefits. Poor in Iran can’t afford to travel and also can’t afford to invest and be dynamic part of industry. Travelling is considered as a luxury facts which not everyone can afford to do it and more over invest on it.
There is a need for setting up a new type of tourism in country which everyone can travel and invest and get the benefits of it and more people can participate. However, according to Dilys R (2001), analysis of tourism data in developing a country shows that in most countries with high levels of poverty, tourism is significant and increasing. The poor can participate in the tourism industry in many ways – as workers, entrepreneurs, and neighbors. They gain new opportunities but also face limitation. They earn incomes, but also suffer costs of tourism.
These impacts vary enormously from destination to destination. Enhancing the opportunities and impacts for the poor is the concern of this research. Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT) is about how the business of tourism is done. The impacts of tourism on the poor depend very much on the behavior of private companies and individual tourists. At the same time, these are strongly influenced by Government, through its policies, regulations, public investment, expectations, and actions, not only in tourism but in other sectors too (Caroline A, 2006).
As mentioned by Dilys R (2001) “Achieving poverty reduction requires actions on a variety of balancing fronts and scales, but for such to happen it is required a significant progress is pro-poor growth – (growth which benefits the poor)”. Together with that Dilys R (2001) also questioned, “As an industry that is clearly important in many poor countries, can tourism be one source of such growth? ” 1. Country profile: Islamic Republic of Iran Iran, a country slightly larger than Alaska, is located in the Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf in the south and the Caspian Sea in the north.
It covers an area of 1. 648 million square kilometers (636,296 square miles) and is edged between Iraq, with which it shares a border of 1,458 kilometers (906 miles), and Pakistan and Afghanistan in the east, with which Iran has 909 kilometers (565 miles) and 936 kilometers (582 miles), respectively, of common borderline. Iran also shares 499 kilometers (310 miles) of borderline with Turkey, 992 kilometers (616 miles) with Turkmenistan, 432 kilometers (268 miles) with Azerbaijan, and some 35 kilometers (22 miles) with Armenia, the latter 3 states formerly being part of the USSR (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009).
Most of the 2,440 kilometers (1516 miles) of coastline are on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The two gulfs are connected by the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Iran has dozens of islands in the Persian Gulf, many of which are uninhabited but used as bases for oil exploration. Those that are inhabited—notably Qeshm and Kish—are being developed, attracting investors and tourists. The Iranian coast of the Caspian Sea is some 740 kilometers (460 miles) long.
Apart from being home to the sturgeon that provides for the world’s best caviar, the Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake, with an area of some 370,000 square kilometers, and is co-owned by Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). In general, Iran consists of an interior plateau, 1,000 meters to 1,500 meters (3,000 feet to 3,500 feet) above sea level, ringed on almost all sides by mountain zones. The Elburz range with the Iranian capital, Tehran, at its feet, features the country’s highest peak, the snowcapped volcanic cone of Mt. Damavand, at 5,604 meters (18,386 feet).
To the north of the range there is a sudden drop to a flat plain occupied by the Caspian Sea, which lies about 27 meters (89 feet) below sea-level and is shrinking alarmingly in size. The larger Zagros mountain range runs from north-west Iran down to the eastern shores of the Persian Gulf, and then eastward, fronting the Arabian Sea, and continuing into Pakistan (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). Iran has a relatively young population, with 34 percent of the population under the age of 14 and 61 percent between 15 and 64 years of age. Thanks to a family planning program, population growth decreased from 3. percent in 1984 to 1. 7 percent in 1998 and further to 0. 83 percent in 2000. Of the population, an estimated 38 million Iranians (or 60 percent) live in urban areas, while approximately 27 million live in rural areas (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). The population density was 37. 6 inhabitants per square kilometer (97 per square mile) in 1998, though many people are concentrated in the Tehran region, and other parts of the country (especially deserts) are basically uninhabited. Basic literacy rates are above the regional average, although uncertain reporting standards give a wide margin for error.
In 1997-98 the central bank estimated literacy at 80. 5 percent in those over 6 years old, with 75. 6 percent of women and 85. 3 percent of men judged to be functionally literate, i. e. they were taught to read and write at some point (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). Iran’s infrastructure is relatively poor and inadequate. Part of this stems from the fact that the vast country was never fully developed, but it also experienced considerable setbacks during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, and restoration since then has been slow (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009)
Iran has a network of 140,200 kilometers (87,120 miles) of roads, of which 49,440 kilometers (30,722 miles) are paved. The 2,500-kilometer (1,553-mile) A1 highway runs from Bazargan on the Turkish border across Iran to the Afghan border in the east. The A2 runs from the Iraqi border to Mirjaveh on the Pakistani frontier. Tehran is linked to major cities in the vicinity by 470 kilometers (292 miles) of express-ways. A heavy expansion of car use has led to increased demand for fuel, severe overcrowding of roads in metropolitan areas, and mounting pollution problems.
Government estimates put the average annual increase in domestic fuel consumption at 5. 5 percent, well above the real economic growth rate. The government has sought to limit motor use by raising domestic fuel prices, but petroleum products in Iran remain heavily subsidized and among the cheapest in the world (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009) Before the revolution Iran had begun to build a reputation as an exotic holiday destination; its ski resorts at Shemshak and Dizin, north of Tehran, attracted international celebrities.
After 1979, the Islamic government discouraged tourism, leaving many renowned archaeological and historical sites, including Persepolis, Pasargard, and Esfahan, barely visited by foreigners (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). Although hardly a booming sector, visitor rates are beginning to rise. The government has begun to issue visas more freely to non-Muslim individuals and groups, and the country is appearing with greater frequency in tourism brochures, but still only around 320,000 foreign tourists actually visit, bringing in revenue of US$170 million.
The bulk of tourism remains to be founded on Shia pilgrimage centers such as Mashhad and Qom. The Bonyad-e Mostazafan (Foundation of the Oppressed), which owns most of Iran’s large hotels, plans to increase the number of hotel beds from the current 34,500 to 59,500 by 2002 (Encyclopedia of the Nations, Iran, 2009). 2. Tourism in Iran Currently, Iran is a country covered in political, religious, cultural, social and economic controversy.
It is a country that magistrate’s extreme emotional and ideological debate and faces challenges as a tourism destination both because of this controversial context and as a result of its association with conflicts in neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Iraq. Distinction of tourism in Iran is complicated by its position at a cultural crossroads, the time-span over which invasions and migrations have taken place and the present day situation where a large population of recent refugees exists from wars and political unrest in neighboring countries.
Iran has enormous cultural diversity on the one hand and a homogeneous religious authority on the other but it is the latter that currently dominates. Furthermore, government which protects and promotes its own brand of Islamic indigenous culture and heritage with a fierce pride and an international image epitomized by US President Bush’s reference to the ‘axis-of-evil’ and you have a situation where indigenous tourism in the normal sense of the phrase is suppressed. Even when used in a conventional sense, the term indigenous tourism is much contested but certain key concerns and debates emerge from the literature.
These include: multifaceted host, guest and intermediary relationships; lack of industry knowledge and incorporation of local cultures; lack of local awareness of tourism and ownership of tourism related businesses; and a need for carefully considered policies to avoid degradation of culture and ensure development is sustainable (Kevin O. G, McLellan L. R & Tom B, 2007). Many of these concerns are relevant in Iran to some extent although it is argued in this chapter that indigenous tourism has been suppressed in Iran. Nevertheless, there are indications that a unique form of local tourism infused with indigenous character has begun to emerge.
This local variation of indigenous tourism is taking shape despite the striking homogeneous national image portrayed in the international mass media. The early stage in the tourism development life cycle means that tourism is generally considered as a national phenomenon, at a national scale rather than local. Growing links between tourism and the protection of Iran’s national cultural heritage were reinforced in 2005 with the merger of Iran Touring and Tourism Organization (ITTO) and Iran Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO) to form the Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) (Kevin O. G, McLellan L. R & Tom B, 2007).
Although the strong influence of the central government is clear with direct authority for the new organization resting with the Vice President of the Islamic Republic of Iran (WTO, 2006), the link between culture heritage and tourism allows vestiges of indigenous tourism to survive but not flourish. 2. Problem Statement How much pro-poor tourism is known by tourism policy makers of Iran? Since, there is no record or papers found about pro-poor tourism in internet or media, According to the research in the internet , there is no evidence to prove Iran’s government are aware of the opportunities and benefits of pro-poor tourism in general.
Moreover base on the research, there isn’t any specific actions or strategies done by government to implement pro-poor tourism in Iran. There is a big gap between opportunities and potentials of tourism in Iran and plans and strategies done by the government to make use of these opportunities. As a result there is not much attention to pro-poor tourism in Iran as well as other types of tourism like eco-tourism and medical tourism and etc. But what are the issues of implementing pro-poor tourism strategies in Iran’s society?
First problem is lake of knowledge and awareness on this type of tourism. There is no evidence shown that, there are groups or people in government or private sector who think or plan for Po-poor tourism in Iran and it as a big squander for tourism sectors of Iran. Following by first issue, the second will be the lake of planning and strategizing the steps and creating visions and working on that plans. Third is to implement the plans and start educating the poor to use the benefits of it. 3. Research questions
Based on the statement and significance of study presented, the research question will be: 1: Is pro-poor tourism adoptable in Iran’s society? 2: How political and religious issues can effect pro-poor strategies? 3: What are the ways to plan effectively for pro-poor tourism in Iran? 4: What are the stages of implementing pro-poor tourism in Iran? 5: What will be the issues and problems of implementing the pro-poor tourism strategies? 6: How to monitor and review for performance of pro-poor tourism strategies? 4. Research objectives : To find the best understanding of pro-poor tourism The research first objective is to introduce the pro-poor tourism to Iranians Government as well as private tourism organizations, and create an excellent understanding of this type of tourism in Iran. 2: To create a goal and mission One of the requirement for this progress will be creating goals and missions to understand better how to reach our goals and whether we reach the goal of the strategies or not and also to evaluate the progress better. 3: To structure and plan for putting our strategies into action
Only understanding of Po-poor tourism in not enough to benefit the society, there should be a plan to implement and follow to gain our goals and missions. 4: To implement the strategies correct and accurate and controlling the action constantly There should be a way to controlling the progress even during implementing it to find whether strategies are correct or to make sure that there are putting in to action correctly. 5. Theoretical Frame Work In this research, the researcher wishes to find how pro-poor tourism can help Iran’s tourism for further developments and improvements.
To gain this goal first need to find out opportunities, challenges and issues related to the research and analyze it. Second step is to create the right strategies and to find how these strategies can help development of tourism in Iran. 6. Conceptual Framework 7. Significances of research 1: How pro-poor tourism can helps in rising economy. 2: How pro-poor tourism’s income can be distributed to the poverty in the society. 3: How pro-poor tourism can help society in other aspect, such as creating more jobs, motivates poor, educate people and etc.
This paper will also discuss about the economical potentials of pro-poor tourism in Iran. This study believes that Iran have many potentials in tourism industry which never used or discovered by the government and people who works in tourism industry. One of the potentials are implementing pro-poor tourism and developing the tourism in poor or not very developed areas. By developing tourism specifically pro-poor tourism industry, government can decrease unemployment and help poor, by teaching them fishing rather than giving them fish.
Poor which most of them don’t have chance to study or build a new business for themselves can be educate by government or by NGOs and social committees and be able to become a part of tourism sector and help themselves and family and also subsequently help the society and government as well. 1. Importance of Tourism Industry Tourism is a leading industry in the service sector at the global level as well as a major provider of jobs and a significant generator of foreign exchange at the national level.
Tourism has become one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the global economy. During the period between 1996 and 2006, international tourist arrivals worldwide grew at an average annual rate of about 4. 0 per cent (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 10). According to the report by United Nations in (2007, page 12) about Role of Tourism in Socio-Economic Development, “The strong growth in tourism arrivals in Asia, particularly the sub regions of North-East Asia, South Asia and South-East Asia is one indicator of the increased significance of tourism for developing countries.
Visitors worldwide have clearly recognized the attractiveness of tourism experiences in Asian and Pacific developing countries in terms of the rich cultural heritage and natural environment. Many officials in these countries have seen that tourism can be part of their development strategies, especially in economic terms. ” Tourism is considered based on its contribution in the form of receipts; share of gross domestic product (GDP) and exports; and growth rate patterns for the tourism industry, tourism economy, government expenditures and capital investment.
The economic impact of the tourism industry is usually assessed at the macroeconomic level and can be measured in several different ways. The most general measurement focuses on tourism receipts and the contribution of tourism to a country’s GDP (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 26). The United Nations Statistics Division and the World Tourism Organization (now UNWTO) developed the tourism satellite account in 2001 as one of the most systematic measurement of the economic impact and contribution of tourism at the national level (United Nations Report, 2007).
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the TSA is “based on a demand-side concept of economic activity, because the tourism industry does not produce or supply a homogeneous product or service like many traditional industries. Instead, the travel and tourism industry is defined by a diverse collection of products (durables and non-durables) and services (transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, entertainment, government services, etc) that are delivered to visitors”. It is important for policy-makers at national and local levels to see that this diversity has many complex links to all parts of the economy.
This is what makes the economic impact of tourism so significant for development. There are various definitions of social development, and most of them converge around the concepts of improving the well-being of a country’s citizens, promoting higher standards of living, increasing employment and creating conditions of economic and social progress. Employment is one of the most readily available indicators to begin measuring the social impact of tourism, since job creation generally helps create the opportunities for better standards of living and related conditions of socio-economic progress (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 8). In socioeconomic terms, linkages refer to the connections between the tourism industry and local suppliers of goods and services through both the formal and informal economy. Leakages refer to payments or financial flows made outside the economy of the destination country. For companies in various sectors of the tourism industry, linkages are seen in business terms as the supply chain. Linkages can stimulate increased economic activity and have a positive effect on balance of payments as local products replace imported ones.
The positive impact of linkages also relates to the capabilities and competitiveness of domestic firms. Among the direct benefits from effective linkages are increased output of the linked enterprises, increased employment, improved market access, increased knowledge and a broader skill base. In addition this could improve efficiencies in productivity, managerial capabilities and market penetration (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 54). 2. Historical evidence of tourism in Iran Iran is a country that is rich in diversity in cultural and historic terms, representing a recorded human history that stretches back some 10,000 years.
The people who inhabit this country have a long history of involvement in tourism. There is considerable evidence for hostels that dates back to at least 2000 BC. These hostels supplied drinks, sex and accommodation for travelers. Drinks included date palm wine and barley beer, and there were strict regulations against diluting them (Gorman O. K & McLellan L. R, 2007, p. 303). “The application of strict Islamic law and a consequent political ambivalence to international tourism is not universal in predominantly Muslim countries” (Gorman O. K & McLellan L. R, 2007, p. 03). Today, Iran’s heritage draws both on native histories and cultures as well as the impact of waves of raider, notably the Greeks of Alexander the Great, the Arabs who introduced Islam to the country, the Mongols from the east and in the twentieth century, the influence of the oil hungry west (Britain, France and the US). Iran’s solid cultural assets include seven ancient locations recognized by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as World Heritage Sites as well as a range of renowned Islamic shrines and cultural sites.
Iran’s natural heritage is also diverse, including desert, mountains and coasts across climatic zones from temperate to sub-tropical (Gorman O. K & McLellan L. R, 2007, p. 303). In actual fact, what have generated particular interest in Iran as a host country for domestic and international tourism are the “effect of religious interpretation by the country’s brand of contemporary Islam on the political, religious, cultural, social and economic environment and the everyday lives of citizens and visitors alike”.
Iran adheres to strict standards of observance and the application of stringent penalties for non-compliance with respect to social and cultural behavior impacting upon personal association, dress and the consumption of alcohol and other recreational drugs. Certainly, these rules impact upon Iran’s image, market potential as a destination for international tourism and the role of indigenous people in tourism. 3. Definition of Pro-poor tourism What is Pro-poor Tourism (PPT)? Pro-poor tourism is about increasing the positive impacts of tourism on poor people. PPT is not a specific product but an approach to the industry.
It is an approach that seeks to increase participation of poor people at many points in the sector, and that aims to increase their economic and social benefits from tourism while reducing the negative impacts on the poor. (www. propoortourism. org. uk) PPT is the kind of tourism that contributes to the reduction of poverty. It is neither a specific product nor a niche market. It is multi-level, multi-dimensional and any tourism can be made pro-poor. There are many NGOs and government organizations involved in PPT but the driving force for change will be the private sector.
There is an increasing realization that to be sustainable, PPT initiatives must involve the private sector in reducing poverty through business activity, rather than alleviating it through philanthropy. PPT initiatives work well when access to natural resources is maintained and exposure to risk is minimized. PPT can also bring important benefits such as more jobs, business opportunities, and improved access to infrastructure and services (Pro poor Brochure FINAL, 2006). 2. 3. 1 Why Pro-Poor Tourism? Tourism is a major economic sector worldwide and especially in developing countries.
According to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators Report (2002), more than 70% of the world’s poorest countries rely on tourism as a key engine of economic growth. Poorer countries have the most to gain from PPT initiatives. But they are also the most vulnerable to the negative effects of mass tourism, in terms of social, environmental and cultural degradation. Furthermore, the distribution of benefits and income from tourism is often not equal. Financial benefits usually end up at the big hotels, tour companies and airlines.
Poorer people too often suffer the negative costs of tourism. PPT engages poorer people and seeks to empower them so that they too share in the benefits from tourism (Pro poor Brochure FINAL, 2006). 4. Challenges of Pro-poor tourism in the World According to the World Trade Organization, international tourist arrivals in 2005 reached an all-time high of over 800 million. By 2020, arrivals are expected to reach 1. 6 billion, generating US$2 trillion. While global tourism numbers increase, this does not necessarily translate into increased revenue for citizens of many developing countries.
A few factors typically prevent the disadvantaged from sharing in the tourism dollar. (Pro poor Brochure FINAL, 2006). Most tourism dollars end up off-shore. Typically, only US$10-20 of every US$100 spent by the tourist remains in the developing country. According to United Nations Environment Program, of each US$100 spent on a package tour, only around US$5 actually stays in a developing country’s economy (Pro-poor Brochure FINAL, 2006). The Pro-Poor Tourism Partnership says, “One of the critical issues for poor producers is often access to the market – access to the established industry and to tourists. Smaller hotels and guest houses and local NGOs have little or no opportunity to market to tourists via the Internet, thus they gain little share of the dollars tourists spend. Some would question the very starting point – engagement with companies to promote pro-poor change. Tourism companies, after all, are profit-seekers, whose business is commercial tourism, not development. But the assumption reinforced to the work presented here is that ‘we’ (as society) should seek to reduce the impact of tourism business (Caroline A and Gareth H 2004). . 4. 1 The argument goes as follows: • Poverty is widespread and direct approaches to poverty reduction are making insufficient progress – thus ‘pro-poor growth’ is also needed, i. e. growth which is inclusive of the poor. • Tourism is a major economic sector worldwide, with particularly rapid relative growth in poor countries, thus is potentially very important for pro-poor growth. • (Limited) evidence shows tourism can be developed in ways that increase net benefits for the poor.
Furthermore, one approach to this is for companies to do business differently, and evidence indicates that doing business in pro-poor ways can make commercial sense. This should, therefore be promoted (Caroline A and Gareth H 2004). 5. Pro-poor tourism practice’s in the world Nowadays, as world is emerging into globalization, Tourism Industry has become one of the main income resources of many developed and some developing countries. As Tourism booming, they are several practices done to gain exposure, especially in the context of this research.
One example is in Nepal where the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation initiated the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program (TRPAP) from 2001 to 2005. The immediate objectives were to demonstrate sustainable tourism development models, review and improve policy formulation and strategic planning, adapt institutional mechanisms, including decentralization, in order to achieve sustainable tourism development that would be pro-poor, pro-environment, pro-rural communities and pro-women (New York: United Nations, 2005).
Another example is; The Mekong Tourism Development Project of the Lao National Tourism Authority and Asian Development Bank focuses on improving tourism related infrastructure, promoting pro-poor, community-based sustainable tourism in rural areas, and strengthening sub-regional cooperation. The project provides training to local people on guiding, hospitality, cooking, tourism management, and marketing. Technical and financial assistance is also provided to help communities build tourism infrastructure such as guest houses, toilets, rest areas and nature trails Steven S, 2007). To monitor socio-economic impacts, a community-based tourism monitoring protocol has been established and implemented over the past 3 years. Project outputs include several community-based tourism related training manuals in the Lao and English languages, dozens of marketing and promotion publications, seminars, workshops and training course materials for tourism service providers and regulatory agencies, and some 40 small-scale infrastructure projects ranging from handicraft markets to information centers and village tourism lodges (Steven S, 2007).
The project is producing direct financial benefits for over 600 families in 16 villages and indirect benefits for a much wider population. To date, sales of community-based tours developed by the project and sold by local inbound tour operators have generated over US$175,000 in foreign exchange. Tour companies that partner with the project and tourist attractions where the project is active report that revenues of two million dollars have been generated over the past three years (Steven S, 2007).
Also in Bhutan; The Nabji-Korphu Trail in Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park in central Bhutan, the first pro-poor tourism pilot project of the national tourism strategy, was officially opened in November 2006 (Pelden D, 2007). The development of the trail, a 6-day, low altitude winter trek, enabled each village along the route to participate in revenue raising activities, such as provision of community camping sites, cultural programs, village guiding and provision of meals. Tour operators were compelled to use these local providers (Pelden D, 2007).
One year on, socio-economic tourism impact analysis has shown that 84% of households received additional cash income from the 62 trekkers in the first season, contributing over US$38, 000 directly to the communities. Ninety eight percent of local respondents felt that tourism had brought tangible economic benefits and a range of other indirect benefits were also identified by respondents (Pelden D, 2007). The project involved the Department of Tourism (DOT), the Nature Conservation Division (NCD) and the Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators nd links with Bhutan’s national tourism strategy and 9th Five Year Plan. SNV delivered technical assistance in support to development and implementation of the project (Pelden D, 2007). 6. Traveling Potentials of Iran In 2006 the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization entered into a memorandum of understanding with the raveling’s Issues Organization to establish the traveling Cooperative Association, which was entrusted with the task of attracting foreign tourists to nomadic regions of the country. Persian society was formerly a traveling one. United Nations Report, 2007, p. 100). Thus, travelers are considered to be a cultural treasure which needs to be preserved. The Department of Tourism Development in traveling Regions was thus established to provide economic development for the nomads by carrying out technical and infrastructural studies. Along with the Department, the traveling Tourism Institute undertakes measures in marketing, advertising and attracting foreign tourists by organizing tours in traveling areas, providing posters, catalogues, pictures and other advertising instruments.
In addition, a special centre will be established in Tehran to provide an outlet for the sale of traveling products (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 100). The authorities hope that devising appropriate tourism programs for traveling regions will lead to an increase in the incomes of the traveling tribes, which would, in turn, raise their standard of living without harming their social systems and traditional lifestyles (United Nations Report, 2007, p. 100). 7. Poverty in Iran Before analyzing about poverty line in Iran, this research provides some useful information about labor force, unemployment rate and inflation rates.
Then only can start analyzing the figures and how pro-poor tourism as a new type of tourism can helps to reduce economic problems. [pic] Figure 2. 1: Sources: CIA World Fact book – September 17, 2009 Figure 2. 2: Sources: CIA World Fact book -September 17, 2009 Figure 2. 3: Sources: CIA World Fact book -September 17, 2009 In this season of presidential elections in Iran, a scenario much in demand is that poverty has increased under Ahmadinejad government. There are newspaper reports of research that offer evidence for just such a scenario, that seem influential but have not gone through the usual academic scrutiny (Javad D, 2009).
A few months ago Salehi D, commented on another high profile poverty report that appeared last year in a journal published by the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran, using faulty methodology to show that poverty has increased. A study by researcher, Professor Davoud S, of Sharif University of Technology in Iran states, the prominent Persian website “Rastak” which is dedicated to “free market economics”, is a mark above the rest in academic rigor and therefore worth a closer look (Javad D, 2009).
He estimates that more than one-third of urban Iranians were in poverty in 2007 and, more shockingly, that this rate has increased during 2004-2007, the first three years of Ahmadinjad’s administration. Salehi D, shockingly not because Mr. Ahmadinejad had promised to eradicate poverty–that was hardly in the cards–but because in these four years Iran received about $200 billion from the rest of the world, some of them poor countries, from oil generated revenues. To learn that this inflow of money (nature’s gift) not only did not lift anyone out of poverty, it actually made the poor poorer is indeed shocking (Javad D, 2009).
Professor Souri, who is a knowledgeable econometrician and knows his data well, but there are reasons why his study of poverty in Iran, like many others, should not be taken at face value. Let us look a closer look at how he arrives at his conclusions (Javad D, 2009). According to Professor Souri, first conclusion that he drafted explains about high incidence of poverty is really not much of a finding because of his assumption defines, everyone under $10 per day ($4. 40 in rural areas) as poor. This is a superior standard to which no developing country has been held as far as I know.
It is 2/3 the poverty line in the United States and more than three times the threshold international agencies use to compare countries (the so-called $2 per day) (Javad D, 2009). Another widely reported study uses a poverty line of nearly 8 million “rials” (Iraninan Currency) for a family of five, which translates into $16 per person per day, which is higher than the US poverty line! “The problem with these studies is not their very high poverty thresholds, it is that they fail to warn their readers about how their poverty lines compares with those used in other countries.
Publishing poverty results that use poverty thresholds that are not comparable across countries can confuse international readers and convince unsuspecting journalists in the west, as well as some with an ax to grind, that Iran’s economy is a basket case (Javad D, 2009). A recent case in point of the latter group appears in the “Nowruz” newspaper (Iran’s daily newspaper), address by Israeli president Shimon Perez to Iranian people, in which he said: “I see the suffering of the children [in Iran] and I ask myself, why? This is a country that is so rich” You can’t invest the money in enriched uranium while telling the kids to stay a little hungry and a little ignorant”. Where he sees the suffering of Iran’s children he does not explain; perhaps he is deducing it from studies that show poverty in Iran on a grand scale. The stronger point in Souri’s study is that poverty has increased during 2004-07. This finding should disappoint anyone who voted for Ahmadijead as a leader who would do something for the poor.
It should anger people in oil importing nations who paid through the nose for Iran’s oil in recent years, that the country took $200 billion from other (sometimes poorer) countries only to impoverish its own poor. Is the economic system in Iran so broken that its richer citizens are not satisfied with the $200 billion they generate from oil revenues and have to rob their own poor? 8. Challenges and issues of Tourism in Iran Economically and politically, tourism is always likely to be a minor industry relative to the oil and other sectors with the result that politicians have little interest in it.
This lack of interest is even greater in relation to niches such as indigenous tourism. A counter argument to this reality, which does not receive widespread attention in Iran, is the employment creation potential of tourism (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, pg 312). Oil and gas, notwithstanding their value to the country, generate relatively few benefits in employment terms. At the same time, the country’s major social and economic challenge is unemployment and under-employment among the youth.
The under 25s constitute 75% of the total population and in some urban areas up to 50% of these young people do not have gainful employment. Tourism, despite its labor intense characteristics and geographical dispersion, is overlooked as a sector that can provide opportunity to this group. (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, p312). Tourism in Iran is characterized by huge opportunity in terms of natural and cultural assets. At the same time, such opportunity is countered by what can be described as political ambivalence at best and antipathy at worst. Encouraging tourism in Iran is a highly contested issue between two main section in the government, one that views tourism as means to achieve economic benefits and modernize, the other that sees tourism as leading to globalization and thus threatening Islamic values and norms” (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, pg313). The current political belief is highly apprehensive of foreign, non-faith influences and this situation acts contrary to interests seeking to develop tourism as a respectable and respected sector of the economy, particularly in rural and remote areas where indigenous tourism is likely to emerge.
Rather than protect and support locally based tourism, the prevailing national ideology stifles local businesses from benefiting from cultural assets. The current environment is not, however, as overtly hostile to tourism as that which existed in the immediate post-revolutionary era (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007). During the period of the Khomeini led government, the state destroyed some historical monuments in the manner of the Taliban in Afghanistan but, more recently, a degree of restraint has prevailed.
However, the image of Iran in the international tourist market is almost unique in terms of negative media attention over a sustained period. Only Libya and perhaps Cuba have suffered similar long periods of extremely negative western media coverage. As an outcome, the core perception of Iran in the eyes of the world and in particular, in the eyes of potential tourists from North America and Europe has been of a troubled, strife torn country that should be avoided (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007).
The Government in Iran does not help counter this image as tourism still tends to be subjugated to the ‘big project’ of promoting a religious – political agenda. For example, the August 2004 public execution of a 16-year old girl in the main street of a Caspian seaside resort, during the height of the tourist season received widespread national and international press coverage and blighted local tourism. Throughout the 1990s negative international media exposure was tempered by the hope that tourism development would be encouraged as part of an attempt to create an image of greater openness under President Khatami.
But a constant barrage of damaging news items in the western media reinforced the old negative image (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007). After encouraging foreign tourists to watch the solar eclipse in Iran in 1999, a relatively isolated incident led to the usual western headlines: ‘Tourists kidnapped in Iran’. ‘Three Spaniards and one Italian were abducted by an armed gang’ (BBC, 1999a) and ‘Official inquiry into Iran eclipse harassment’ as a result of foreign tourists visiting to view the eclipse, particularly women, being subjected to hostile slogans and harassment by Islamic hardliners (BBC, 1999b) (Kevin O.
G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007). While this seemed to be the case in five of the countries (Iraq, North Korea, Cuba, Syria and Libya), in Iran the journalist was ‘detained and intimidated’ as the cameras, tapes and tourist visa were viewed as the instruments of spies. The lack of foreign investment in tourism can also be seen as a major mainstream tourism challenge, especially in the hotel sector, in that both product and service are woefully inadequate for the contemporary international leisure and business market (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, pg 314). Service standards in the major state hospitality businesses are among the poorest in the world, contrasting with the warmth and natural hospitality of service in small, private, indigenous businesses throughout the country” (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, p. 314). In marketing perspective, international tourism to Iran is severely challenged by problems with respect to national image, relating to regional political concerns and also national social and cultural matters, notably the hijab requirement for women and the ban on alcohol.
For example, there is evidence that some Chinese tour operators are unwilling to promote Iran because of the hijab requirement. Wider concerns about human rights issues are also a barrier to visitation and are further complicated by the challenges facing minority indigenous groups in Iran (Kevin O. G, Mc Lellan L. R & Tom B, 2007). 9. Strategies relate to pro-poor tourism development According to one report, regular monitoring and evaluation to assess the benefits was difficult at the field level due to lack of communication, limits on transportation and on-going armed conflict in some districts.
Similarly, frequent transfer of the government officers from the program districts presented a challenge to monitoring implementation of pro-poor tourism policies and strategies of TRPAP. Monitoring activities from the rural community level to the central level in order to sustain the pilot rural tourism models required a different evaluation strategy. (Kayastha Y, 2006) An evaluation tool known as the “Development Wheel” was designed for communities to self-monitor their progress through discussions about changes in the community structure, development of enterprises and natural and cultural resources.
The “Development Wheel” is one of several evaluation tools that are part of an evaluation methodology known as the Appreciative Participatory Planning and Action (APPA). The APPA methodology focuses on having local people identify plans and activities that are positive, successful and strong so they can serve as a means to empower communities. When people used the “Development Wheel”, it proved to be the most effective participatory way to evaluate progress of TRPAP at the program sites (Kayastha Y, 2006). On the other hand, WHL (World Hotel Links Corporation) make travelling easier for independent travelers.
To find small local accommodation providers Independent travel is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. A 2004 International Finance Corporation study on eco-lodges put the global independent traveler market at 50%. Many travelers use guidebooks and the Internet to select destinations and accommodation and rarely use tour packages. Thus they spend and leave more money locally. By serving smaller accommodation providers, WHL is making it easier for independent travelers to find interesting travel experiences, which in turn translates into more bookings for local SMEs (www. worldhotel-link. com).
The researcher believes that such strategy analysis can be an important tool in furthering the research on pro poor tourism sustainability in Iran. 3. 1 Research Philosophy and General Method This chapter explains the methodology of the study which means the ways have been used for gathering the information and data and consequently how this study will analyze the data to find the best answer for the mentioned research questions. There is two methods of analyzing the data which are qualitative data analysis and quantitative data analysis . qualitative data typically involves words and quantitative data involves numbers.
In this research, only Qualitative analysis is used by researcher to measure and analyze the data of the study. Specifically researcher attempt to use Discourse Analysis as types of qualitative analysis for this study, and that is why there will be definition of Qualitative Analysis and Discourse Analysis stated in this study. 3. 1. 1 Qualitative analysis Quantitative approaches are those where you make measurements using some relatively well-defined measurement tool. Assuming that the theory behind doing the measurement is valid, and then a well developed quantitative tool should give you information in which you can have confidence (www. sse. monash. edu. au). On the other hand, qualitative research methodologies are designed to provide the researcher with the perspective of target audience members through immersion in a culture or situation and direct interaction with the people under study. A qualitative “approach” is a general way of thinking about conducting qualitative research. It describes, either clearly or totally, the purpose of the qualitative research, the role of the researchers, the stages of research, and the method of data analysis (Trochim, 2006). „Qualitative methods allow us to stay close to the experimental world.
They are designed to ensure a close fit between the data and what people actually say and do. By observing people in their everyday lives, listening them talk about what is on their minds, and looking at the documents they produce, the qualitative researcher obtains first-hand knowledge of social life unfiltered through concepts, operational definitions, and rating scales? (Taylor & Bogdan,1984). According Marketing dictionary, “qualitative research is a research that deals with the quality, type, or components of a group, substance, or mixture, whose methods are applied to advertising audience research in order o determine the quality of audience responses to advertising” (www. answers. com). Along with the above reference, according to the article published by DJS Research Ltd (2009), Qualitative research is used to help us understand how people feel and why they feel as they do. It is concerned with collecting information in detail and asking questions such as why do you say that? Depth interviews or group discussions are two common methods used for collecting qualitative information. http://www. marketresearchworld. net 3. 2 Discourse Analysis
The focus of discourse analysis is any form of written or spoken language, such as a conversation or a newspaper article. The main topic of interest is the underlying social structures, which may be assumed or played out within the conversation or text. It concerns the sorts of tools and strategies people use when engaged in communication, such as slowing one’s speech for emphasis, use of metaphors, and choice of particular words to display affect, and so on. The investigator attempts to identify categories, themes, ideas, views, roles, and so on, within the text itself.
The aim is to identify commonly shared discursive resources (shared patterns of talking). The investigator tries to answer questins such as how the discourse helps us understand the issue under study, how people construct their own version of an event, and how people use discourse to maintain or construct their own identity (Fulcher E, 2005). This research has been done to expose weaknesses and problems of Tourism development and planning specifically focus on pro-poor tourism and discuss about challenges and issues as well as opportunities for this industry.
Moreover find out the reasons why tourism industry in Iran is not enough developed as compare to other developing countries with less attractions, facilities and potentials. The studies aim is to help to understanding the meaning and usage of pro-poor tourism and finding the challenges and analyze them and finding the reasons and issues which make this problems and by recommending and suggesting some action plans help to improve tourism policy and establishing new type of tourism industry which is not very new in the world and it is pro-poor tourism in Iran. . Process of Study Since this research is about pro-poor tourism in, Iran the study will focus more on Explanation of benefits of pro-poor tourism in Iran and the ways it will benefit the society and economy of the country. The research will be descriptive and then method of the study will be qualitative . after gathering the data will be analyzed on the content to find and recognize the issues and challenges of implementing the strategies and plans to find out the best effective strategies. Diagram 3. : Data Analysis process 3. 3. 1 Data collection (Notice and Bring Together) Study will began with collecting necessary information from reliable resources and identify the related data and bring those data together. Researchers collected some parts of the data which has from internet and from KDU College Library. Since this research have been doing in Malaysia, and there is no other possible ways for collecting the data from Iran, Internet played a very important role for finding the data very and necessary information.
Beside internet and journals, interviews with professionals of the industry and also papers of pro-poor tourism researches which have been done by professors and lectures of KDU College and was presented in a pro-poor tourism conference in Malaysia (KDU College, 2009) will be used to help the study to analyze and strategies the plans which will be recommended by this study to improve tourism industry for the better future of the country. 3. 3. 2 Analysis
Base on the above studies research start to analyze the data and information which have been founded in the last stage to finding the correct answers for the research questions, and then planning for an action plan which will be use in next stage of study. The method of analyze which is using for analysis the data in this research, is qualitative method of analysis, and it is going to be evaluate by discourse analysis. 3. 3. 3 Action plan (Make Decision)
In this part of study, according to the data we analyze and after finding challenges and issues in tourism industry, some recommendation and action plans will suggest to improve the tourism development and establishing pro-poor tourism in Iran. This study believes that the result of this research will be useful and helpful for building sustainable tourism policy in Iran for near future. 4. References Ashley. C and Haysom G, 2004, From Philanthropy to Different way of doing business: “Strategies and Challenges in Integrating Pro-Poor Approaches into Tourism Business”. Also available http://www. ropoortourism. org. uk/Publications%20by%20 partnership/propoor_business_ATLASpaper. pdf. Viewed 28/11/2009 Answer. com, Marketing Dictionary: Qualitative Research [Online] available http://www. answers. com/topic/qualitative-research-1. Viewed 14/12/2009 Caroline . A, 2006, For SNV East and Southern Africa, “How Can Governments Boost the Local Economic Impacts of Tourism”. Viewed 29/11/2009 Dilys. R, 2001, Pro-Poor Tourism: “Harnessing the World’s Largest Industry for the World’s Poor”, UK and Penny Urquhart Khanya, South Africa, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Viewed 1/11/2009 DJS Research Ltd: “What is Qualitative Research” [Online] available http://www. marketresearchworld. net/index. php? Itemid=64&id=10&option=com_content. Viewed 14/12/2009 Dorji. P, 2007, Pro-Poor Community-based Nature Tourism in Bhutan [Online] available http://www. propoortourism. org. uk/pptpar2007. pdf Viewed 12/12/2009 Encyclopedia of the Nations 2009 (Iran) Country over view; “Location and size, Population, Infrastructure, power, and communications, Transportation, Power, Telecommunications, Industry” Also available: http://www. nationsencyclopedia. com/economies/Asia-and-the Pacific/Iran. tml. Viewed 3/12/2009 Fulcher. E, 2005, What is Discourse Analysis? [Online] available http://eamonfulcher. com/discourse_analysis. html. Viewed 14/12/2009 Gorman, O. K. D, McLellan, & L. R Baum, T. 2007, Tourism in Iran: “Central Control and Indignity”. In Tourism and Indigenous Peoples: “Issues and Implications”. Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford, p. 297-317 Viewed 8/11/2009 Iran Labor force (2009) [Online], available http://www. indexmundi. com/iran/labor_force. html Viewed 5/11/2009 Inflation rate in Iran (2009) [Online], available http://www. indexmundi. com/iran/inflation_rate_(consumer_prices). tml Viewed 5/11/2009 Iran unemployment rate (2009) [Online], available http://www. indexmundi. com/iran/unemployment_rate. html Viewed 5/11/2009 Javad. D & Salehi. I, 2006. Revolution and redistribution in Iran: “Poverty and inequality, 25 years later, Department of Economics, Virginia Tech” Viewed 4/11/2009 Javad. D, 2009, “Tyranny of numbers Claims of rising poverty in Iran” [Online] available http://djavad. wordpress. com/2009/03/30/playing-with-poverty-numbers Kevin O. G, McLellan L. R & Tom B, 2007, Tourism in Iran: “Central control and indignity” Viewed 3/12/2009
Kayastha, Y, 2006 “Monitoring and Evaluation of a Pro-Poor Tourism Project in a Conflict Situation”, Conference Monitoring and Evaluation of Pro-Poor Tourism Policies for Sustainable Development, Saarbrucken, Germany, Also available: www. wuwien. ac. at/inst/iuw/fsnu/saarbruecken/papers/abstracts/Kayastha. pdf. Viewed 6/11/2009 Monash University (2007): Qualitative and Quantitative Thinking [Online] available http://www. csse. monash. edu. au/~smarkham/resources/qual. htm Viewed 14/12/2009 Pro-poor tourism, UK, 2009 [Online] available www. propoortourism. org. uk Viewed 8/12/2009
Pro-poor Brochure FINAL, 2006 [Online] available http://www. ifc. org/ifcext/mekongpsdf. nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/Propoor_Tourism/$FILE/Propoor_Tourism. pdf Viewed 9/11/2009 Pro-poor tourism; Annual register 2007, [Online] available http://www. propoortourism. org. uk/pptpar2007. pdf Viewed 9/11/2009 Steven S, 2007, The Mekong Tourism Development Project in the Lao PDR [Online] available www. ecotourismlaos. com and http://www. propoortourism. org. uk/pptpar2007. pdf Viewed 10/12/2009 Taylor, S & Bogdan, R 1984, “Introduction to Qualitative Research Method”s, John
Wiley & sons, New York Viewed 30 April 2009 United Nations Report, 2007, New York, “Study on the Role of Tourism in Socio-Economic Development” Viewed 3/12/2009 United Nations ESCAP, “The Contribution of Tourism to Poverty Alleviation”, Tourism Review number 25 (New York: United Nations, 2005), p. 68-70. Viewed 5/11/2009 World hotel-link, 2009 [Online] available http://www. ifc. org/ifcext/mekongpsdf. nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/Propoor_Tourism/$FILE/Propoor_Tourism. pdf Viewed 12/12/2009 ———————– Chapter One: Introduction Chapter Two: Literature Review Chapter three: Methodology