TEHRAN – A group photography exhibition has put on show a collection of surprising and lesser-seen travel destinations from every corner of Iran.
Titled “Color, Light, [and] Silence”, the event showcases a careful selection of images taken from the harsh tranquil deserts, star-filled skies, lakes, lush jungles, flower gardens, snow-capped mountains, and magnificent ruins to name a few.
“Most of the works in this exhibition are from the point of view of introducing historical and natural attractions in the dusk,” according to Parham Janfeshan who is tourism chief of Tehran province.
Over the past couple of years, many travel insiders and landscape photographers have sought to devote much more attention to off-the-beaten tracks, the ones which are generally lesser-known to potential sightseers and vacationers.
Currently, an increasing number of travelers are looking for something different such as spending a day in tranquil countryside, picking fresh fruits, watching rice grow, fishing by the seaside, eating traditional dishes, or even staying with locals. To put it in other words, many urban residents tend to choose rural tourism to enjoy a slow-paced lifestyle that resembles something like ‘the Internet + countryside’.
Experts believe that the growth of the local economy is the ultimate goal of the rise and development of the rural tourism industry, but in the long run, to enable the long-term development of the rural tourism industry, the healthy maintenance and growth of environmental capacity is very important.
The ancient country is home to thousands of historic and architectural beauties on offer in famed cities like Isfahan and Shiraz, Tabriz, Kashan, Kerman, and Yazd in such a way that its diverse landscapes could be easily overlooked. Moreover, introducing the lesser-known or less-favored destinations is among the policies the tourism ministry follows. For example, over the past couple of years, western Iranian provinces have held several meetings to discuss ways to expand tourism, bringing together local officials, hoteliers, travel agents, and tour operators from provinces of Lorestan, Ilam, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, Kohgiluyeh, and Boyer-Ahmad, Kermanshah, Kordestan, Hamedan, Zanjan and East Azarbaijan, amongst others.
Having numerous pristine yet diverse natural gifts, Iran has many to offer to nature lovers. For instance, the villages of Kharanaq, Barandaq, and Lark have been nominated for the ‘Best Tourism Villages’ label, which the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is projected to grant to a selection of rural destinations across the globe.
In fact, the World Tourism Organization sees rural tourism as a type of activity in which the visitor’s experience is related to a wide range of products generally linked to nature-based activities, agriculture, rural lifestyle, culture, angling, and sightseeing. Such tourism also possesses characteristics such as low population density, a landscape dominated by agriculture and forestry, as well as traditional social structure and lifestyle. Similar to agritourism, rural tourism is seen as a win-win situation both for local communities, and post-modern travelers who are in search of unique experiences.
The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025. The latest available data show eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20).
The six-day exhibit which is held at Honar Garden in the Abbasabad neighborhood will come to an end on February 17.