Technical Panel Explores the Tourism in Iran’s Aquatic Structure

 | Post date: 2024/03/17 | 
The Center for International Studies (CIS), in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair on Water Reuse, successfully held a specialized conference titled " Experiencing Tourism in Iran's contemporary and Ancient Aquatic Structures" on March 10, 2024, from 14:00 to 16:00. This significant event was supported by the Iranian Hydraulic Association and expertly chaired by Dr. Fakhari, a faculty member in the Tourism department at Kharazmi University. The conference was accessible both in-person and online, catering to a wide audience.
The session commenced with an insightful lecture by Dr. Mohammadreza Majidi, an associate professor in the Regional Studies department at the University of Tehran. Representing the Sustainable Cultural Tourism Club and the Iranian UNESCO Cooperation Association, Dr. Majidi spoke on "The Importance, Laws, Regulations, and Governance of Water." He revisited the initiation of World Water Day in 1992, emphasizing the critical message behind the 2023 theme: "Accelerating Change to Solve the Water Crisis." Dr. Majidi's discussion underscored the urgent need to expedite solutions to the global water crisis. He further advocated for heritage-based tourism as an approach that is sustainable, responsible, community-centric, and eco-friendly, presenting it as an opportunity for the development of communities. Highlighting the significance of underwater cultural heritage and the necessity for acquiring specialized knowledge in this area, Dr. Majidi set a thoughtful tone for the day's discussions.
Following him, Mr. Ehsan Eiravani, a specialist in cultural heritage and tourism, took the stage to discuss "Water Management in the Historical Structures of Khuzestan Province." He revealed that an extensive survey, covering about 3,000 kilometers by vehicle and 300 kilometers on foot, identified over 583 historic water structures. This monumental effort not only paves the way for national and international recognition of this water heritage but also lays the foundation for an innovative tourism initiative centered on these sites. Eiravani critiqued the one-size-fits-all approach to tourism planning, advocating instead for bespoke strategies that honor the unique characteristics of each area.
Dr. Mojtaba Shafiei, an expert in water policy, contributed to the discussion via an online lecture titled "Sustainable Development from Cliché to Practice." He argued compellingly that water is the linchpin of development; without it, there can be no progress. Highlighting the adverse effects of unsustainable development on natural resources worldwide, Dr. Shafiei called for integrated water management, drawing on the millennia-old technology of qanats as a model for sustainable, nature-based solutions. He emphasized the need for quantification, measurement, and continuous evaluation of water resources to achieve sustainable management.
Dr. Mohammad Amin Izadju, a specialist in water tourism, delivered a presentation on "Business Models for Tourism Accommodations." He pointed out the rapid expansion of eco-lodges in Iran and their pivotal role in promoting sustainable tourism, yet noted the absence of a comprehensive and sustainable business model for this vital socio-economic sector. Dr. Izadju suggested that tapping into the vast, underutilized potential of dams, water bodies, and water facilities could significantly boost the country's tourism industry, yielding benefits such as job creation, economic prosperity, security, and improved social welfare. He highlighted ongoing governmental efforts to encourage investment in the development and promotion of tourism initiatives surrounding water resources and facilities.
The conference concluded with a lively Q&A session, where participants engaged with the speakers on various topics. The discussions throughout the day underscored CIS at Kharazmi University and UNESCO chair on water reuse’s firm commitment to advancing scientific knowledge on pressing national issues. The organizers hope this specialized conference will be a crucial step forward in the development of heritage-based tourism, leveraging Iran's rich cultural and natural resources for sustainable growth.



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