Webinar discusses ways to boost smart tourism 

January 8, 2021 - 16:55

TEHRAN – Tens of Iranian tourism insiders and officials discussed ways to promote smart and responsible traveling during the coronavirus era. 

Methods for designing virtual-tourism products, recounting [inspiring] stories about historical places, as well as compiling promotional materials for the mass media were amongst topics discussed during a  webinar, hosted by the northwestern Zanjan province on Thursday.

Almost 100 participants exchanged views on attracting tourists through virtual products, using digital marketing, new travel technologies, a dynamic tourism system the coronavirus outbreak, the provincial tourism chief, Amir Arjmand, said.  

They also discussed novel ways of designing tourism websites, making online reservations, and how to tap the full capacity of travel agencies to revive the sector, he added. 

Last September, Iranian Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Ali Asghar Munesan said that if coronavirus-related restrictions persist, the tourism industry of the country would suffer irreparable losses and many tourism insiders would be bankrupt, adding it’s time to replace “smart and responsible traveling” with “do not travel” recommendations.

To avoid the devastation of the Iranian tourism industry, “smart and responsible traveling” should replace "do not travel” recommendations, Mounesan explained. 

Smart tourism is defined according to the technological capabilities of a particular destination, attraction, or tourist. Many destinations are now modernizing to include increased use of smart technology in their operations ranging from payment methods to interactive activities.

The ultimate aim of smart tourism is to improve the efficiency of resource management, maximize competitiveness, and to enhance sustainability through the use of technological innovations and practices.

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors. Against a backdrop of heightened uncertainty, up-to-date and reliable information is more important than ever, both for tourists and the tourism sector.

Some experts expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.

The latest available data show eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2019).

ABU/AFM

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