Iran, Austria seek to expand tourism ties

September 20, 2019 - 21:5

TEHRAN – Iranian and Austrian officials on Wednesday discussed ways to expand tourism ties through promoting sustainable ecotourism and holding a joint symposium in this regard.

“Iran and Austria can expand cooperation on exchanging tourists and professors, as the sector cannot be put under [U.S.-led] sanctions,” said Alexander Rieger, deputy head of mission of the Austrian Embassy in Tehran, addressing a news conference on International Sustainable Eco-tourism Symposium, Mehr reported.

The symposium is scheduled to be held in Tehran on September 25 and 26. 

Talking on similarities that Iran and Austria have in tourism, Rieger said that the two nations can have a good cooperation in this sector without being worried about the U.S. sanctions.

He informed that a group of officials from Austria and five EU countries have visited some of Iran’s ecotourism sites to become familiar with the Iranian culture in various parts of the country, the report said.

Rieger presides over the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) and he is also head of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Tehran.

A poster for the Sustainable Eco-tourism Symposium  

On July 31, 2018, and on the occasion of the Damavand Anniversary Project 2018, some 100 Austrian and Iranian mountaineers together with a group of European ambassadors jointly ascended the Mount Damavand. The two-day event marked the 175th anniversary of the first Austrian ascent of Mount Damavand by the botanist and scholar Theodor Kotschy in 1843, Mehr added.

The event sent a strong signal that Europe and Iran are making good on their promises to engage in an ever-increasing number of sectors and areas, Stefan Scholz, Vienna’s ambassador to Tehran said at the time.

“Iran is more than a country, it’s a civilization in its own right and one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world,” the Austrian ambassador had said.

“Austria stands ready to partner in further developing Iran’s great tourism potentials in a sustainable way, protecting natural resources and supporting the life and culture of mountain populations. This new sector partnership is part of Austria’s bilateral contribution to preserving and maintaining the JCPOA by bringing concrete and measurable economic benefits to the Iranian people,” he added.

Last November, the Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran, mainly the ones that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, in order to batter Iran’s economy, however, according to official data, they have so far failed to lessen foreign arrivals to the Islamic Republic.

“Nearly 7.8 million foreign nationals visited Iran over the [past Iranian calendar] year 1397 (March 2018-19) that shows a 52.5 percent increase year on year. The country hosted 5.1 million travelers in 1396 (March 2017-18),” deputy tourism chief Vali Teymouri said in April.


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