Eco Tourism in the Middle East: Iran

iran eco tourism

As part of our ongoing virtual eco-tour of the Middle East, this week’s cyber journey is to Iran. Iran is a little further off than Jordan and Lebanon, but it is also an intriguing spot. And thanks to some information provided by Mohammad Memarian as a response to a Green Prophet post on MidEast Youth – a great regional website that promotes dialogue between people all over the Middle East – we’ve come to understand that while ecotourism is a pretty new idea in Iran, it is definitely developing fast.

According to Mohammad, a National Ecotourism Committee was established recently in Iran, but they have not run any national-level projects yet. Ecotourism in Iran currently consists mostly of travel agencies offering special eco-tours and the northern parts of Iran are especially popular among eco-tourists.

Here are some environmentally friendly tourism options for green visitors to Iran:

iran eco tourismEcotour Iran: Ecotour Iran, a leading tour operating company, cooperates with experts in the field of ecotourism. It runs the only official ecotourism center in Iran as well as training courses for ecotour leaders in the fields of zoology, ornithology, botany, geography, history, photography, outdoor sports, anthropology, and more. They offer a wide range of tours, some of which include bird watching and nature photography tours.

Iran Paradise: Iran Paradise is a tourism agency whose eco-tours focus on the many national parks and protected regions in Iran. According to their website, there are currently 10 national parks and 41 protected regions in Iran constituting 7.9 million hectares (around 4.8% of the total area of the country). Highlights of their 12 day/11 night eco-tour itinerary include visiting a variety of national parks, sleeping in tents, and viewing various aquatic, forest, and desert eco systems.

Let’s Go Iran: Let’s Go Iran is another tourism agency that offers a variety of eco-tours – skiing, diving, desert, and nomad tours. Highlights of the nomad eco-tour include a full day of camel riding in the desert followed by a delicious lunch of camel meat, camping overnight with the nomads in the Zagrus mountains, and trekking through mountains.

Read more about green happenings in the Middle East region:

Green News From the Arab Blogosphere

Voices From the Green Egyptian Blogosphere

7 thoughts on “Eco Tourism in the Middle East: Iran

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  3. laradunston

    Camel meat is delicious – yes, Maurice is right, a little gamey, but can be incredibly succulent if done well – it’s served throughout the Arabian Peninsula countries at weddings and Eid feasts. I’m normally based in Dubai but I’m in Australia at the moment and it’s featuring on the menu here a lot – after all the Australians export a lot of camels to the Middle East.

    I’ve just discovered your blog by accident as I was looking for an update on an eco-tourism project in Iran and somehow arrived here. Great blog! I’ll link to it from my own.

    I’d love to know where the photo is… as a travel writer I should probably know, but I don’t… I haven’t been to Iran yet but I’m going in 2009 so I’ll definitely be trying out these companies.

    Reply
  4. James

    Anyone looking for camel meat locally should visit Hebron – it is allegedly the centre of camel meat trading in the Middle East (according to my Bedouin sources)…. while I haven’t tried camel meat, I can reccommend camel milk (‘Hormuk’ in Mongolian): this is a real tonic – delicious & very good for you. Well worth seeking out on your travels in the ME ……
    thanks Karen for finding green info about Iran – healing International rifts & misunderstandings through ecological awareness & action.

    Reply
  5. Karen

    I personally would probably… not try it. But I’m a vegetarian, so that’s a pretty good excuse. It could be delicious, though! You never know!

    Reply
  6. Maurice

    It’s one of cermonial foods served to Muslim pilgrims during the Hajj – at the Plain of Arafat. Of course in Islam, many types of meat are considered to be Halal or ritually permitted to Muslims that are not allowed to be eaten by Jews.

    I imagine camel meat is not much different that some kinds of hoofed mammals like deer or moose. Probably a bit stringy and “gamey” tasting.

    Reply

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