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EghtesadOnline: Foreign and private sector investors who put their money in Iranian historical buildings can get 100% tax exemption for five to 13 years, based on the scale and location of the project, said the head of Iran’s Revitalization and Utilization Fund for Historical Places (known by its Persian acronym SAABTA).

Mohammad Reza Pouyandeh added that investors can also apply for loans from the National Development Fund, which will be offered based on an agreement with Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, ISNA reported.

The tax breaks and financial assistance, along with discounts in utility costs, are among the government’s incentives to entice the private sector to implement restoration projects.  

Pouyandeh said investment in Iran’s historical places is safe, profitable and quick-yielding, thanks to foreign tourists’ inclination to take up accommodation in ancient buildings and the relatively high number of domestic travelers, according to Financial Tribune.

He stressed that not a single project has failed to deliver on its early-return promise.

According to the latest data, 13 million Iranian families took a trip in spring 2014, suggesting that investment in Iran’s tourism is worthwhile.

“Domestic travelers alone can ensure the profitability of these projects,” Pouyandeh said while addressing a meeting with the heads of Iran’s friendship associations last week.

Noting that the full potential of SAABTA has not yet been exploited due to lack of publicity, the official said friendship associations can help promote the capacities by “introducing investment packages to foreign countries, especially those with similar cultural backgrounds”.  

  State Budget Inadequate

Pouyandeh pointed to the rise in ceding historical buildings to the private sector, adding that friendship associations are capable of channeling foreign investment to the restoration sector.

“The fund is prepared to hold bilateral talks with the associations about the issue,” Pouyandeh suggested.

Drawing on private resources is essential to restore the country’s ancient sites, as the government does not have the funds for it.

“Even if all the budget of ICHHTO is allocated to restoration schemes, it will not be sufficient,” he said, stressing that the private sector’s participation is the only solution.

“Over the past year, the fund implemented 49 projects and created 1,444 jobs. This has helped expand the country’s lodging capacity to host 1,090 more people,” Pouyandeh said.

The meeting was held in ICHHTO’s headquarters and was attended by the heads of Iran’s friendship associations with Australia, Germany, Thailand, Kenya, Greece, Italy, South Korea, Oman, India, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Romania, Brazil, Pakistan, Kuwait, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Niger, Congo, Ivory Coast, Poland, Tajikistan and Jordan.

Iran Historical Buildings tax exemption SAABTA Mohammad Reza Pouyandeh