UNWTO chief sees Iran as a safe, peaceful destination

November 12, 2018

TEHRAN - The visiting United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) secretary general on Monday said “We are willing to introduce Iran to the world as a safe and peaceful destination.”

“We are here to help Iran become more powerful, and as a result, to make the World Tourism Organization more powerful,” Zurab Pololikashvili stated, Tasnim reported.

He made the remarks in a press conference followed by the opening ceremony of the 40th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session, which opened in the city of Hamedan.

“We know that dozens of hotels are under construction in the country that create jobs… all of these investments and efforts made by the government will help bring more tourists to Iran.”

Referring to U.S.-led sanctions against Iran, Pololikashvili said that majority of such sanctions help us to become more powerful.

Pololikashvili arrived in Iran early on Sunday. He held separate talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and several other officials. On the first day of the journey, he also paid a visit to the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran.

“Tourism will show the world how attractive Iran is,” the UN official said on Sunday in an interview with Iran Press website.

“It is very important to internationalize and to attract more and more tourists to Iran … and I truly believe that tourism is one of the best instruments for creating peace in the world.”

“I think we need more international presence in Iran that is why we are here. It is not the last meeting which we are organizing and we have more upcoming UNWTO events. I want to express my thanks to the Iranian government which is very active abroad, and I see Iranian diplomats and representatives everywhere in international events.”

A host of international representatives, scholars and academia attended the opening ceremony of the 3-day session which also explores ways to advance cultural tourism in Iran.

According to the UNWTO website, the seminar addresses 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 aims to provide a platform to foster in-depth discussions through panel debates and the sharing of good practices.

Hamedan is currently taken on appearance of the “capital of Asian tourism in 2018”, a privilege which was approved in the second ACD Tourism Ministers Meeting held in Cambodia, June 2017.

Earlier this month, the UN body added Hamedan Municipality and Kish Free Trade Zone to its list of affiliate members from Iran.

AFM/MG

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