Iran seeks to foster ‘art tourism’ in partnership with handicrafts

December 9, 2019 - 19:5

TEHRAN – Iran aims to strengthen bonds existing between handicrafts and tourism in order to foster “art tourism”, deputy tourism minister Pouya Mahmoudian has said.

“We are working hard to promote art tourism in Iran and now we have hotels in Iran that are fully decorated with handicrafts,” she said on Sunday.

Mahmoudian made the remarks in meeting with Cvetan Cvetkovski, the officer-in-charge of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office, Marcello Notarianni, an advisor to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), CHTN reported.

Talking on the significance of handicrafts in the country, the deputy minister noted, “Iran globally ranks first in terms of having the topmost number of world cities [and villages] of handicrafts.”

The World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region has so far designated eight cities and two villages for the honor.

Late in October, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization admitted Iranian cities of Bandar Abbas and Sanandaj as UNESCO Creative Cities.

“Some 295 fields of handicrafts are currently practiced across Iran with more than two million people engaging, majority of whom are women… Handicrafts also play an important role in the economy in our rural villages.”

Cvetkovski for his part voiced hope that handicrafts to take an important part of tourism (in Iran).

“This meeting can give us a basic idea of tangible and intangible heritage and given that Iran is one of the countries with lots of handicraft (fields), we would like to work with you and your colleagues in more specialized arenas.”

Cvetkovski also reminded that tourism and handicrafts are rapidly advancing in the global scene, adding “Iranian handicrafts are very important in this growing tourism chain.”

Speaking at the meeting, Notarianni attached significance to artisans and craftspeople and their works as contributors to Iran’s [developing] comprehensive tourism plan.

Handicrafts are regarded as an economic factor in tourism, especially in the area of employment. In fact, preserving this area is very important point in comprehensive tourism plan, he said.

It is very important to consider and operationalize your point of view in developing the plan, Notarianni told Mahmoudian, the report said.

On Saturday, Notarianni, an expert on sustainable tourism who has served as tourism consultant in about 30 countries, officially announced the start of developing Iran’s comprehensive tourism plan, deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri told the Tehran Times.

Iran’s handicrafts exports reached $289 million in the past Iranian calendar year 1397, showing three percent growth year on year, based on data released by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

Traditional ceramics, pottery vessels, handwoven cloths as well as personal ornamentations with precious and semi-precious gemstones are among Iranian exports to Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany, the U.S., the UK, and other countries


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