Iran urges greater tourism cooperation among ECO states 

August 30, 2021 - 18:50

TEHRAN – Iranian deputy tourism minister has urged the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to lay the ground for greater tourism cooperation amongst member states in the post coronavirus era. 

Vali Teymouri made the remarks on Monday addressing “International Festival of Dushanbe-The ECO Tourism Capital” and “The International Forum of Agro-Tourism Development in Tajikistan”, which were held simultaneously in an online environment. 

“Forecasts and studies on tourist behavior indicate their communications will change in the post-coronavirus world, making neighboring countries and regions a more important factor,” the official said. 

Therefore, it is needed to shift to regional tourism cooperation [in particular] within ECO countries, he added. 

Elsewhere in his remarks, Teymouri admired the selection of Dushanbe as the ECO Tourism Capital for 2020 and 2021 while he reminded attendees of the selection of Sari and Ardebil as ECO Tourism Capitals for 2022 and 2023. 

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Teymouri explained how traveling and hospitality sectors of the country are adopting the virus-related limitations, stressing the need to re-analyze target markets, redefine tourism products and improve the level of e-services. “We need to revise marketing strategies, and to redefine tourism products by paying great attention to nature tours, rural tourism, ecotourism, agricultural tourism as a tool to empower local communities and travel businesses.”

Last year, Iranian former tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan announced that mass, unplanned travels are not approved. “The outbreak of the coronavirus has caused damage to the tourism industry in Iran and [other parts of] the world in such a way that according to statistics, 50 million people are directly and indirectly exposed to unemployment due to the virus spread in the global scene…. yet, mass or unplanned and irresponsible travels are not approved to take place during the coronavirus era.”

Smart and responsible traveling should replace "do not travel” recommendations, the minister stressed, adding: “In our country, Corona has caused problems in the tourism industry and the worrying point is the continuation of this trend.”

Tourism [industry of Iran] was growing before the corona [outbreak], its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, near the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent, the minister explained.

ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization encompassing countries from Europe, Caucuses and Central Asia, West Asia, and South Asia with more than 460 million inhabitants and over 8 million square kilometers connecting Russia to the Persian Gulf and China to Europe.

According to the organization, its overall objective is to materialize the sustainable economic development of its member states and the region as a whole.



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