Tourism to Help Meet Job Creation Target

The government’s plans for the next Iranian year (starting March 21) envision the creation of 1.34 million jobs, of which 173,000 would be in the tourism industry.
In other words, “tourism is responsible for nearly 17% of the jobs targeted for the year”, Ali Asghar Mounesan, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said.
According to the official, about 150 trillion rials ($3.4 billion) have been earmarked to generate this number of jobs in the sector, which is to be supplied through private sector resources, bank loans, the National Development Fund of Iran, managed funds, interest subsidies and grants, IRNA reported.  
A noticeable share of the budget—close to 92 trillion rials ($2 billion) —is to be provided by the private sector.
Mounesan noted that these 173,000 jobs will be generated in tourism sector alone, but the handicraft sector is also included in small-scale job creation plans.
“At present, some one million people are directly working in the tourism sector and two million more have jobs indirectly linked to the industry,” he said.
One million people are directly earning livelihood from handicrafts and five million people are indirectly benefiting from the sector.
The ICHHTO highlighted the sustainability of tourism employment that will “lead to a fair distribution of wealth in urban and rural areas”.
However, he regretted that ICHHTO is among the last government entities in terms of budget allocation despite its key role in earning foreign exchange revenues and generating jobs.
“Our funds are by no means sufficient for a country with such a large number of historical sites,” he said.
Since his inauguration as the head of ICHHTO, Mounesan has repeatedly pointed to the potential of tourism to create jobs and earn revenue with a much smaller investment than other sectors.
The sector’s contribution to world economy has been growing at a constant pace, prompting countries to consider it as a major source of income.
Based on statistics from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the industry’s contribution to world GDP outpaced the global economy for the sixth consecutive year in 2016, rising to a total of 10.2% of world GDP ($7.6 trillion). The sector now supports 292 million people in employment–that’s 1 in 10 jobs on the planet.
Forecasts over the next 10 years also look extremely favorable with a projected annual growth rate of 3.9%.
In Iran, each foreign tourist’s contribution to economy is estimated to be equal to that of 30 barrels of oil.
Mounesan hoped that the huge capacity of tourism sector will be better recognized and appreciated in the country.

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