Full-Fledged Support for Iran Tourism
said his organization will make every effort to introduce Iran as a safe
destination for tourism and a peaceful and secure country to the world.
The United States has made every attempt to create financial constraints for
Iran. President Trump says it has restored crippling sanctions against Iran;
but to what extent do the Americans think Washington’s unilateral efforts to
block and confine Iran are trustworthy?
Iran’s Hamedan city was host (Nov. 12-14) to the 40th Plenary Session of the
UNWTO Affiliate Members and despite the US efforts to increase the wave of
Iranophobia in the world and warn them against traveling to Iran, 80 UNWTO
(World Tourism Organization) members flew to Iran concurrent with the
imposition of new US oil sanctions against Tehran.
Ali Asghar Mounesan, Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and
Tourism Organization (ICHHATO), says the arrival of every foreign tourist in
Iran is equivalent to selling 30 barrels of oil.
The Iranian government has been trying over the past decade to shift
revenues from oil money to tourism.
Holding the 40th Plenary Session of the UNWTO Affiliate Members in Hamedan
(western Iran) which has been designated as the Capital of Asian Tourism is
important because not only the participants in the session but domestic
tourism experts consider the event as a sign of failure of US unilateral
efforts aimed at isolating Iran and obstruct arrival of foreign tourists in
Speaking to the press on the sideline of the Hamedan confab, Mounesan said
the presence of 80 UNWTO affiliate members from different countries in Iran
is indicative of the defeat of Washington’s unilateral efforts in portraying
a false and unrealistic image of Iran to the world. zurab pololikashvili
Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, however, believes that
the arrival of 5 million foreign tourists in Iran which has numerous amazing
tourist attractions is very small. He said UNWTO will try to encourage more
tourists to visit Iran, including Hamedan (which is one of the five main
tourist destinations in the country with 1,800 tourist attractions). He said
his organization will open a handicrafts office soon under the UNWTO
umbrella and Iran can use the capacity of this office to promote tourism.
On the sidelines of the confab, the UNWTO chief was asked by reporters if
the Hamedan event could help reduce the wave of Iranophobia devised by the
US and certain neighboring countries. He replied by saying: “Hardships will
help us become stronger. Now we are here to help Iran become stronger in the
He said his organization will make every effort to introduce Iran as a safe
destination for tourism and a peaceful and secure country to the world. He
also responded to another question that unilateral and hostile US sanctions
against Iran may prompt foreign tourists to have second thoughts about
traveling to Iran, and what measures would the UNWTO take to prevent
measures that could restrict arrival of tourists in Iran. “It’s hard to
answer this question. The United States is not a member of the UNWTO and we
cannot have a direct impact on the country. But as Secretary-General of the
World Tourism Organization, I will do my utmost to help Iran. I am convinced
that the problem of tourism in Iran will be resolved in the long run.”
Concerning a question on communicating Iran’s message in his meetings with
heads of state and tourism activists, he emphasized: “If my words can be
effective, I assure you I will talk about Iran and all its tourist
attractions.” He called Iran one of the most important members of the
organization, saying: “Our ambition is that the visa problem will be solved
not only for Iran but for the entire world, because it is one of the oldest
problems in the way of tourism. We know that the visa issue has not been
eliminated because of the security complications of the countries, but I
hope that by facilitating the visa processing and even lifting it in the
world and even Iran, a large number of foreign tourists will travel to
According to the UNWTO secretary-general, presentation of a negative image
of Iran and US made Iranophobia has been a challenge that will be overcome
in the long run and tourism industry will reach a point of peace and quiet.
“Many tourists traveling to Iran tell their friends and people that Iran is
a safe country for travel, and Iran will come out of this challenge
proudly,” he added.
In the framework of the Plenary Session, the UNWTO and ICHHATO co-hosted the
International Seminar on Harnessing Cultural Tourism through Innovation and
Technology. The main aim of the seminar was to address the role of
innovation and technology in the development of cultural tourism and in
enhancing destinations’ competitiveness and attractiveness. Technology and
innovation, including information and communication technology (ICT), serve
as enablers of the sustainable development of cultural tourism whereby
improving governance, enhancing profitability, and competitiveness along
with preserving intangible and tangible cultural resources.
In this regard, the seminar provided a platform to further discuss these
important topics through panel debates and the sharing of good practices.
Additionally, it explored the fundamental contribution of innovation to
fostering cultural tourism in Iran – a country endowed with rich cultural
heritage and legacy of the remarkable Persian civilization.