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Tourism in Iran: central control and indigeneity

O'Gorman, Kevin D. and Baum, T.G. and McLellan, L.R. (2007) Tourism in Iran: central control and indigeneity. In: Tourism and Indigenous Peoples: Issues and Implications. Butterworth - Heinemann, Oxford, pp. 297-317. ISBN 0750664460

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Iran has a long history and tradition of accommodating visitors and travellers, as well as having a great number of minority cultures within its borders, reflecting its geographic location astride some of the major trade routes in the Middle East. Despite what could be seen as great advantages in the competition for tourism, the present powers in Iran have downplayed the potential role of indigenous groups in tourism, just as they have downplayed the role that tourism could have in the country at large. By exercising strong central and religious power and control and putting forward a strong national image, Iran has discouraged tourism development among its indigenous communities. The dominant centralised power structure of the country is in sharp contrast to that in Nepal for example, described in the previous section, and community-based tourism is hard to find, although there are examples of good individual operations, normally at a small scale. Iran symbolises, perhaps, the dominance of a central uniform control over tourism compared to a local indigenous variety of developments.