Qatar World Cup a chance to dwindle Iranophobia, deputy minister says

December 7, 2021 - 18:11

TEHRAN – The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a significant opportunity to represent the true face of Iran by efforts to dwindle the so-called anti-Iranian sentiments, the deputy tourism minister has said.

“Qatar’s World Cup offers a unique opportunity to introduce destinations near the host country, and we should take advantage of this opportunity to confront Iranophobia”, ILNA quoted Ali-Asghar Shalbafian as saying on Monday.

To make good use of this occasion, it is necessary to develop consensus among the relevant agencies, and if this does not occur, it will be detrimental to the country, the official added. 

A key priority should be introducing Iran and its unique tourist attractions to World Cup spectators, he noted. 

There is a need, however, for the country’s tourism infrastructure to be developed, he added. 

Back in October, the official announced that the Islamic Republic of Iran should benefit from the 2022 World Cup as a considerable opportunity to promote its distinctive travel attractions.

The geographical position of Iran and its unique tourist attractions make it a potential destination for the World Cup spectators, the official added. 

Therefore, proper policy-making and management in collaboration with the private sector can pave the way for the widespread use of this event, he noted. 

Increasing the number of flights between Iran and Qatar during the event, which will be held from November 21 to December 18, 2022, as well as showcasing and introducing distinctive tourist attractions of the country to the spectators at this event are on the agenda of the tourism ministry, he explained.

Earlier in November, the head of the Association of Kish Hoteliers also announced that the Iranian island of Kish in the Persian Gulf is ready to host Qatar World Cup spectators as well as participating teams.

The proximity of Kish to Qatar and the lower cost of staying on this island make it possible for spectators and teams to stay here during the World Cup, he added.

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.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Iran’s tourism was already grappling with some challenges, on top of those Western “media propaganda” aimed at scaring potential travelers away from the Islamic Republic. Some experts believe Iran is still somehow “unknown” for many potential travelers due to such a “media war”. They, however, consider bright prospects for the tourism sector of the country if it vigorously pursues comprehensive strategies to counter U.S.-led propaganda and strict sanctions, yet does its best to loosen tough travel regulations.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

ABU/AFM 

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