ECO ministers, envoys inaugurate “Sari 2022” in northern Iran

May 10, 2022 - 21:15

TEHRAN – On Tuesday, tourism ministers and representatives from the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) came together in Sari to officially name the northern Iranian city as the tourism capital of ECO member countries in 2022.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by officials and diplomats from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, The Young Journalists Club reported.

Addressing the ceremony, Iranian tourism minister Ezzatollah Zarghami urged the need for the development of tourism between member states, saying a proposal is to promote cheap overland travel.

“A way to promote tourism between ECO member countries is to encourage cheap overland travel,” Zarghami said.

Sari, the capital of Mazandaran province, was selected as the tourism capital of ECO during the 3rd ECO Ministerial Meeting on Tourism, preceded by the 5th High-Level Experts Group (HLEG) on tourism, which was held on October 3-4, 2019, in Khujand, Tajikistan.

“The main priority of Mazandaran is to attract international investors into the province,” Mazandaran’s Governor-General Seyyed Mahmoud Hosseinipour said on Tuesday.

Furthermore, the event is aimed to put the spotlight on a variety of touristic sites and in particular the Trans-Iranian Railway. 

“The introduction of national touristic capacities of Iran is among cultural programs of the event titled Spring Nights of Iran,” according to Mehdi Izadi, the provincial tourism chief.

It is arranged that the foreign guests of Sari 2022 ride the rails on the way back to Tehran to get acquainted with some of the province's rail tourism attractions, Izadi said.

Furthermore, Sari 2022 is to introduce off-the-beaten routes and lesser-known rituals, the official noted.

The 1,394-kilometer-long Trans-Iranian railway was completed in 1938 after 11 years of massively challenging construction as it crosses four distinct climates, linking the glittering shores of the Caspian Sea to the fertile plains of the Persian Gulf.

“Sari 2022” is considered the best opportunity for cooperation between Iran and ECO member states and, given this opportunity, all potential can be used for the prosperity and branding in the field of tourism and economy.

Local officials believe Mazandaran, which is a top destination for domestic travelers, can be turned into a destination for foreign travelers as well through careful planning.

Sandwiched between the towering Alborz mountain range and the Caspian Sea, Mazandaran has a rich yet turbulent history. An early civilization flourished at the beginning of the first millennium BC in Mazandaran (Tabarestan).

Its insecure eastern and southeastern borders were crossed by Mongol invaders in the 13th and 14th centuries. Cossacks attacked the region in 1668 but were repulsed. It was ceded to the Russian Empire by a treaty in 1723, but the Russians were never secure in their occupation. The area was restored to Iran under the Qajar dynasty.

The northern section of the region consists of lowland alongside the Caspian and upland along the northern slopes of the Alborz Mountains. Marshy backlands dominate the coastal plain, and extensive gravel fans fringe the mountains. The climate is permanently subtropical and humid, with very hot summers.

ECO is an intergovernmental regional organization encompassing countries from Europe, Caucuses and Central and 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.

AFM

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