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13 Jun, 2015

Oil-price drop opens door for Iran to upgrade tourism sector

Tehran, June 12, IRNA / Iran International Magazine commentary – The fall in oil prices has occurred at different junctures in Iranian history and every time with the falling oil prices, pundits and statesmen have argued that utmost advantage should be taken from the opportunities created as a result.

In other words, many executives and experts believed there are capacities in our country that can convert the threats posed by oil price collapse into great opportunities for our economic growth and prosperity. Nevertheless, as soon as the oil prices go up again, the idea is simply shelved after a few months.

We can consider the issue of oil price tumble an opportunity for our economy when the concept of an oil dependent economy is erased from the mindset of policymakers and managers and replaced by an economy based on production and competition.

The reality prevailing over our country shows that even when oil prices go down and the government feels it is under pressure, at the time of regulating the budget, many of the senior executives – including the executive branch directors and Majlis deputies – insist on increasing different expenditures by relying on oil revenues. All managers benefit from expenditure management and wish to expand the budget in their relevant fields through bargaining.

What was said above has been a repeated scenario in our country’s economic situation. On this basis, it should be said that whenever our national resolve is to place our reliance on management of revenues and expenditure instead of relying on expenditure management, that is to say all organizations and institutions that are fed by the public budget focus their efforts on the belief to find a mechanism to earn revenue first and then spend it (of course parts of the expenses for providing public goods are exception to this rule) it can then be concluded that despite all the slogans we still consider ourselves dependent and in need of oil revenues.

If we rely on an endogenous economy which depends on the country’s internal and domestic privileges and advantages then we can pay serious attention to many of the vacant capacities of the economy, the most important of which are tourism industry, arts and sports.

At present, we can hear cries in support of tourism from all sides but a deep look at the realities will tell us that we should inevitably admit that tourism is not yet considered an industry in Iran capable of replacing oil revenues. Because, tourism has its requirements and as long as those requirements are not addressed, the revenues expected to be obtained from tourism and tourism-oriented employment would not be realized.

Tourism will gain a proper place in the economy only when the country’s diplomacy, executive, security and supervisory management act in a united and integrated manner; that is to say the Foreign Ministry would facilitate arrival of foreign tourists, the executive apparatus would deem provision of infrastructures imperative and the security and monitoring bodies would cooperate with each other to promote tourism. Only in that case the slogans given on the important role of tourism will get better conditions for realization.