TEHRAN – In a high-profile meeting with the Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization, the Iranian President underscored the pivotal role of the tourism industry, emphasizing the imperative for the organization to spotlight Iran’s cultural, civilizational, and tourist assets on the global stage.
Expressing contentment with the collaboration between the organization and the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ebrahim Raisi stressed the criticality of forging connections with international bodies within the tourism sector.
Notably, he urged the UN Tourism Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili to personally explore Iran’s tourist attractions, underscoring the World Tourism Organization’s vital role in amplifying awareness and showcasing Iran’s cultural and tourist potential to a diverse global audience.
During the meeting, Raisi delved into the Iranophobia project undertaken by Western countries, characterizing it as a colonial approach and emphasizing the urgency of countering such strategies.
Pololikashvili lauded the President’s participation in the International Tourism Exhibition as a clear indication of the Iranian government’s unwavering commitment to the tourism sector. He interpreted this engagement as a positive message resonating with tourism professionals in Iran and the broader region.
Addressing negative portrayals by certain Western media outlets against the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Secretary-General highlighted Iran’s rich culture, civilization, historical landmarks, and the government’s significant strides in advancing tourism, particularly in the realm of health tourism, through the cancellation of visa requirements with numerous countries worldwide.
Iran on the path to post-pandemic tourism revival: UN tourism chief
Speaking at the 17th International Tourism Exhibition in Tehran, Pololikashvili announced a return of global tourism statistics to pre-COVID levels. He mentioned, “We’re on the road to global tourism recovery, and Iran has experienced a 5% increase in tourist arrivals compared to the pre-pandemic period.”
Expressing his delight during the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Pololikashvili stated, “Today, we’ve come together for a lively celebration.” Encouraged by the latest UNWTO statistics showing global tourism reaching 84% of pre-COVID levels, he emphasized the ongoing recovery.
Referring to Iran’s recent tourism figures, Pololikashvili noted, “In December and October, Iran saw a 5% increase in tourist arrivals compared to the pre-pandemic period, which is noteworthy.”
Commending Iran’s decision to lift visa requirements with 33 countries, he described it as a significant step in opening Iran’s doors and fostering tourism growth. Pololikashvili expressed hope that this move would promote cultural exchanges and economic cooperation.
Viewing the Tehran exhibition as an opportune moment to confidently envision Iran’s tourism future, he stated, “Iran, with its rich culture and numerous attractions, welcomes tourists from around the world.”
Referring to the guests from various countries as messengers of unity, he highlighted tourism as a crucial pillar for economic growth and employment.
Yazd, Kandovan inscribed as international tourist sites
The Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization and the Chairman of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) handed over the global registration plaque to Yazd city and Kandovan village in Iran.
At the opening ceremony of the 17th Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition, Pololikashvili presented the global registration plaque for the village of Kandovan to Rahmati, the governor of East Azarbaijan province.
Moreover, the Chairman of the ACD presented the registration plaque designating Yazd as the tourism capital for member countries of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) to Mehran Fatemi, the governor of Yazd.
During the program, after receiving the registration plaque for Yazd, Governor Mehran Fatemi highlighted the importance of seizing this opportunity to strengthen cultural ties between nations, promote global peace, and enhance the country’s tourism and economic capabilities. He viewed the most significant achievement of the event as the establishment of an Asian union and international collaboration among member countries to foster economic and cultural relations.
The 17th Iran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition 2024 has kicked off at the Tehran International Permanent Fairground on February 12. Representatives from 11 countries are expected to attend this three-day exhibition. This exhibition is considered Iran’s premier tourism industry event.