In April 2016, following the visit of the experts of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to Iran, seventeen tourist routes were identified, and so far the tourist routes of Central Alborz and western Mazandaran have reached the operational and executive stage. In these routes, according to the identified potential capacities, organs have been formed to facilitate the development process. Seven offices have been registered on these routes.
Training centers and organic tourism creative hubs are innovative projects derived from scientific and empirical findings of creative hubs. Organic Tourism Creative Hubs are defined as the backbone of organic tourism and regional development. The formation of several spokes and gears around these hubs has a significant impact on providing job opportunities as part of the innovative regional development of west Mazandaran province.
Mazandaran is the tourism paradise of Iran and in turning the western region of Mazandaran into an organic tourism hub, the indigenous community plays a major role and implements the identity of organic tourism. So far, dozens of regional organizations such as rural cooperatives have been formed to lay the groundwork for project implementation, each of which has played an effective role in the development of the region.
At present, after conducting study stages and sharing UNIDO international experiences in the field of tourism, the development program of tourism routes in West Mazandaran in the form of seven tourism routes and tourism plans in various fields and based on unique natural advantages, Historically and culturally located and executed.
In the first phase, the 2,000 road and Daalkhani forest tourism route was implemented, which has achieved good results in consolidating local capacities and increasing social participation. Among the villages identified for this route, we can mention the villages of Shanehtarash, Galyan, Joloo and Garmaposhteh. Also, various rural tourism projects such as 25 eco-tourism resorts, tourism farms with educational support, empowerment and facilitation of organic tourism projects in the western region of Mazandaran have been implemented.
So far, the following results have been achieved in this project:
۱ Creating new tourist attractions and increasing the capacity to attract tourism through modeling at the local and regional level, including the village of Shanehtarash, which is one of the most beautiful villages in the western region of Mazandaran in the heights of the two thousand area of Tonekabon. This village is one of the villages in the region that has preserved a large part of its historical and indigenous identity and based on architectural studies, the reconstruction and restoration of non-indigenous textures was done with the participation of the local community. At the beginning of the project, the average number of tourists visiting the village was about 50 to 60 tourists during the week, which after the implementation of the project and the addition of tourist attractions, the figure has increased to 120 to 150 people in appropriate seasons.
۲ Improving the welfare of the indigenous community by implementing visual identity models and improving the architectural status and improving environmental conditions such as building public places including health services, creating a store of home products, building a village entrance gate and a tourist service information station, designing an Eco park and installing environmental elements. Such as trash cans, lighting fixtures, sidewalk construction, bird and dog nest construction and the like that can be seen in ShanehTarash village.
۳ Development of business and sustainable employment with tourism approach including creating 168 jobs in service areas (including 110 men and 58 women) along the road of two thousand and neighboring villages of the road also creating at least 118 permanent jobs (including 81 men and 37 women) On the way to Daalkhani road and adjacent villages.
۴ Improving the business situation and empowering women by holding 9 training courses in theory and training workshops in the home business sector for 88 women who have worked in the field of home business in rural areas. A case study of employment of at least 15 women in the handicrafts sector, including night weaving and weaving of woolen clothes, and employment of at least 25 women in the production of household food products in the village of Shanetrash.
۵ Development of partnership between stakeholders and establishment of development institutions in the western region of Mazandaran, the successful results of which are the formation of three rural cooperatives pioneers of sustainable development of Tonekabon and Shaneh Tarash village cooperative and Galyan village cooperative with 152 members who have played an important role in project implementation.
۶ Supporting community groups and SMEs, NGOs through social participation and the presence of groups in defining the issue through numerous interactions and meetings with NGOs in the region such as Mehr Madar Ramsar and Tonekabon Development NGO, Payame Noor University of Tonekabon, Maham Tabarestan Institute, etc., whose outputs had a significant impact on the observance and involvement of groups’ concerns in the process of designing models and project implementation processes.
۷ Private sector participation and use of international and specialized experiences in order to implement the project by receiving advice on reviewing analyzes and designing models.
In this regard, several meetings were held with business owners related to the project content. This team used the experiences of companies such as Branding and International Marketer Platform, as well as the Cooperative Union of Iranian Agents and Economic Specialists in the field of tourism in the project process, the results of which are gradually emerging in the implementation process. Also, educational and organizational support of regional cooperatives such as rural cooperatives, pioneers of sustainable development of Tonekabon, cooperatives of Shanehtarash village and cooperatives of Galyn village have been other measures of the project.