Foreign travel agencies to explore East Azarbaijan on fam tour

January 22, 2022 - 16:56

TEHRAN – The northwestern Iranian province of East Azarbaijan is ready to host tour operators and travel insiders from neighboring counties on familiarization tours, the provincial tourism chief has announced.

Tours like these will promote tourism in the region and introduce the province as a top tourist destination, CHTN quoted Ahmad Hamzezadeh as saying on Saturday.

It will also promote tourist exchanges between Iran and its neighbors, he noted.

Back in December, the official said that a suitable platform can be provided for the development of the tourism industry by having fam tours in the province and taking advantage of the existing capacities in the sector.

Holding fam tours is the best strategy for developing tourism in top countries, the official added.

To accomplish this goal, the province’s tourism department is planning to organize fam tours for tourism activists and media members of the neighboring countries early next year, he noted.

Soaked in history and culture for millennia, Tabriz, which is the capital of East Azarbaijan, embraces several historical and religious sites, including the Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few. The city became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin. During the next two centuries, Tabriz changed hands several times between Persia and Ottoman Empire. During World War I, the city was temporarily occupied by Turkish and then Soviet troops.

The ancient city was declared a world craft city of carpet weaving by the World Craft in 2016. It also bore the title of 2018 Islamic Tourism Capital.

Iran’s tourism

Last week, the deputy tourism minister Ali Darabi announced that Iran needs to get ready for a probable “tsunami of tourism” once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

“The Iranian government should get fully prepared for a surge and potential tsunami of tourism when COVID-restrictions are over.”

Travel and tourism will increase as vaccination becomes a priority around the world and lifestyles align, the official added.

Earlier this month, an official with the tourism ministry announced that the Iranian tourism industry has suffered $233m losses due to COVID restrictions over the past two years.

“Travel is not believed to be the cause of the outbreak, rather it is a lack of adherence to health protocols that have caused the outbreak, but people canceled their trips anyway, causing major damage to the tourist facilities across the country,” he explained.

With only two months until the upcoming new Iranian year holidays, the tourism ministry is preparing safe and smart travel packages for Iranian holidaymakers and travelers, he noted.

Nearly 70 percent of the population has been vaccinated, so these trips may be able to partially compensate for the damage done to tourism facilities over the past two years, he mentioned.

Last year the tourism ministry announced that the tourism of the country was growing before the corona outbreak, its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, nearing the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent.

Iran was ranked as the second fastest-growing country in tourism based on data compiled by the World Tourism Organization.

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 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/MG

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