Tehran to host 1st tourism exhibit of Islamic world

April 26, 2022 - 21:26

TEHRAN – Tehran is getting ready to host the 1st edition of the Islamic World Tourism Exhibition (IWTE) aimed to turn the spotlight on lesser-known destinations from 15 countries.

Arranged in close collaboration with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the event will touch upon sightseeing tours, ecotourism centers, medical services, e-services, and pilgrimage as well, according to organizers.

Islamic countries have immense potential to deepen tourism relations, Abdolkarim Sadeqdoust, who presides over the ICESCO office in Iran, said on Tuesday.

Sadeqdoust made the remarks during a press conference where he also stated: “We are trying to introduce Iran as one of the axes of the Islamic world in the ICESCO.”

Tehran to host 1st tourism exhibit of Islamic world

A hidden gem and a backpacker’s dream, Iran holds vast potential as a holiday destination with stunning landscapes, numerous World Heritage sites, and above all, its hospitable people.

The country is often portrayed as “one of the safest to travel” by most visitors who experienced it, particularly solo female travelers and families, and the Lonely Planet calls its people the “friendliest in the world.”

“My advice is: don’t believe what you hear on the news. Explore the place, talk to locals and come to your own conclusions. Come to Iran with an open mind and I guarantee you’ll make many great friends in Iran,” Polish traveler Anna Karsten wrote in her travelogue in 2020.

“To me, being uncomfortable once or twice doesn’t mean that the place is dangerous. I never once felt physically threatened, unsafe, or at risk, even when I was wandering the streets of Iran. I felt safer in Iran than if I was walking around in NYC. Even the tap water was safe in Iran!”

Ellis Veen, a cultural anthropologist from the Netherlands who has traveled for more than 20 years to over 50 countries along the ancient Silk Road, says: “After my visit to Iran one of the most frequent questions I got is whether it was safe for me to travel to Iran as a woman. My short answer would be yes and I would recommend Iran to anyone considering it.”

“Iran is one of the safest countries in the Middle East (West Asia) and Iranians are among the friendliest people I have met in my travel history.”

It's no surprise for those who are aware of Iranian culture and the great hospitality its people are famous for. Iranians are traditionally generous hosts giving the best of what they have to their guests.  In traditional Iranian culture, guests are cherished like precious jewels. It is here in Iran that a typical invitation for a cup of tea can be extended to an overnight stay, or a humble asking for directions may forge a warm friendship.

Long shunned by Western travelers, the Islamic Republic has steadily stepped-up efforts to use tourism, over the past couple of years, to help promote its international image battered by endless opposition mostly from the U.S.

Before the COVID pandemic, Iran tourism had constantly been growing, reaching more than eight million visitors in the Iranian calendar year 1398 (started March 21, 2019). That surge, however, helped prejudices to become thick and thin.

Some experts believe even before the 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. They say Iran is still somehow “unknown” for many potential travelers due to such a “media war”.

In the realm of medical tourism, many domestic experts believe it is a win-win opportunity both for the country and foreign patients, as they are offered affordable yet quality treatment services and the country gains considerable foreign currency.

Amongst Iran’s trump cards are the presence of credible surgeons and physicians, cutting-edge medical technologies, high-tech medicine and diverse specializations, super affordable procedures, and finally its hospitable people. The Islamic Republic has set goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around two million in [calendar year] 1404 (March 2025-March 2026).

The Islamic World Tourism Exhibition will be held at Shahr-e Aftab International Exhibition Center from June 7 to 10.

AFM

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