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Abstract

Iranian people have a rich and significant history of nomadism and are still in contact with this ancient practice. The purpose of this research is to investigate and evaluate the Iranian nomads’ culture from a touristic and aesthetic viewpoint. The literature shows that well-known cultural tourist attractions possess particular characteristics to become a successful and sustainable product / destination. In this paper, we argue that Iranian pastoral nomads, from a geographical, social, cultural, and artistic perspective, have numerous peculiar characteristics which are attractive to international tourists. Internationally, while the sociocultural frameworks of nomadic societies are at risk of extinction when confronted with factors like globalisation, Nomads and nomadic lifestyle in Iran, seems to be less exposed to cultural, economic, and social changes. Fortunately, the main foundations of nomadic life in Iran, based on mobility, free movement and self-sufficiency are still practiced. Iranian nomadic tribes migrate seasonally twice a year, the phenomenon being called Kooch - the most fundamental characteristic of nomads in Iran. We present an argument that Kooch and other nomadic activities are potential tourist products. Twice a year, these pastoral nomads move their ambulant houses and all their equipment, which has been designed in an extremely artistic and skilful way. This unique journey of mobile heritage makes Iranian nomads attractive to the eyes of outsiders. The potential symbiosis between nomadic heritage and tourism offers a genuine opportunity for the development of sustainable tourism.

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