ISNA reports that Tabriz Municipality is offering “special loans” to encourage domestic and foreign investors to finance hotel projects in the city in anticipation of the influx of tourists in 2018.
According to Akbar Ghamkhar, an investor and board member of the Tehran Tour and Travel Agencies’ Association, the municipality is offering plots of lands “at affordable prices” and has scrapped municipality tax for hotel projects until 2018.
Ghamkhar, who was in the northwestern city on Saturday as part of a delegation of investors, said the group has reached an agreement with the municipality to build five-star hotels.
“Both Iranian and foreign investors can benefit from the incentives offered by the city officials,” he said, implying that domestic entrepreneurs would not be favored over their foreign counterparts.
About 180 artisans have been working on weaving a 2,000-meter-square rug for three years, and although the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019, “we’ve asked [the artisans] to wrap it up by 2018 if possible,” Ghamkhar said.
Municipality officials want to display the rare rug at the Azarbaijan Museum.
On December 23, the final day of the three-day 9th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers in Niamey, Niger, ministers of tourism of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states approved the selection of Medina in Saudi Arabia and Tabriz as the capitals of Islamic tourism in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The title was given to the Turkish city of Konya in 2016.
During the conference, the ministers adopted a resolution on the development of tourism in OIC countries in the next two years and called on relevant OIC institutions to support the process of implementing the program, including the establishment of an electronic Islamic tourism portal and cuisine and cultural festivals.
The resolution welcomed offers by Egypt and Iran to host the 3rd and 4th OIC tourism fairs in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
The capital of the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Tabriz predates the Islamic conquest of Persia. It served as the capital city of a number of dynasties following the conquest.
During its long history, the city was ransacked by Mongolian raiders and Ottoman invaders and razed by devastating earthquakes, but was rebuilt every time.
Tabriz hosts a number of famed religious sites, including the Jame’ Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and it boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Bazaar of Tabriz.
In September, Tabriz was declared a World Craft City by the World Craft Council, which, along with Isfahan, makes it one of Iran’s only two cities to boast the title.