Iran attending UNTWO meeting on corona-hit tourism industry

September 15, 2020 - 18:30

TEHRAN – Iran has participated in the 112th session of the executive council of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which started in Georgia on Tuesday, aiming to find ways to help the global travel industry recover from impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri represents the Islamic Republic at the three-day event, which will also discuss rural tourism and ways to empower local communities through generating jobs and sustainable development.

Teymouri is also scheduled to meet UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili, reviewing the latest developments in the travel sector, expansion of mutual ties, as well as negotiating previously-inked agreements between Iran and the organization.

Iran’s practical actions to realize the scheme of “Accessible Tourism Destination”, introduced by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, is among topics Teymouri will be discussing with the UNWTO General-Director. Si-e Tir St. in downtown Tehran, which was Iran’s pilot project as an “Accessible Tourism Destination” will be reviewed during the meeting. The scheme aims to make sure that a destination can be enjoyed by all tourists, regardless of their physical, sensory, or cognitive abilities.

In his latest massage regarding the impact on the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism, Pololikashvili has said “If tourism brings us together, then travel restrictions keep us apart.” He added “Tourism needs to thrive, and this means that travel restrictions must be eased or lifted in a timely and responsible manner. It also means that policy decisions need to be coordinated across borders to face up to a challenge that does not care about borders! ‘COVID-19 and Transforming Tourism’ is a further element in the roadmap for the sector to regain its unique status as a source of hope and opportunity for all.”

In June, the World Tourism Organization praised efforts made by Iran’s tourism ministry to manage the travel industry during the coronavirus pandemic. UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said in a letter to tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan that the country's measures have truly earned plaudits to mitigate the impact on tourism. “A series of measures that the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran has taken, in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of UNWTO, has truly earned plaudits as an effective practice to mitigate the impact on tourism,” part of the letter reads.

It is noteworthy that during the 111th session of the council, the members had approved that the next meeting would be held in the first semester of 2020 in Georgia. However, the exceptional international situation due to the coronavirus outbreak forced the secretariat, in consultation with the chair of the council, to postpone the 112th session of the Executive Council to the second semester of 2020.

AFM/MG

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