Iran tourism minister inaugurates ‘Ardabil 2023’ as ECO cultural capital

April 28, 2023 - 17:33

TEHRAN –Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami, on Thursday, inaugurated the “Ardabil 2023” event in the northwestern Iranian city, CHTN reported on Friday. 

The opening ceremony was attended by the ministers and representatives from the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) as well as Iranian cultural and tourism officials, the report added. 

Choosing Ardabil as a [rotating] cultural capital of the organization is an accurate, correct, and expert choice as it represents Iran well and offers a wide range of tourism opportunities, the minister said during the ceremony. 

It is important to appreciate this event as a means to promote tourism in other parts of the country and create cultural interactions with other countries, he added. 

In this regard, the ministry has suggested that the government waive visas for 50 countries and focus on opening tourism routes to promote cultural exchange, he noted. 

A healthy and sustainable way for nations to interact is through tourism, and wherever diplomatic relations are in trouble, tourism should be an open channel, he mentioned. 

Tourism is the right of all people and the best means of public diplomacy when the nations’ relationships become closer, he explained. 

Last July, Zarghami said that the “Ardabil 2023” would be a great opportunity to promote the province on an international scale.

As “Ardabil 2023” approaches, it is necessary to make the most of the opportunity to introduce the province internationally and to build infrastructure in the province, the minister said.

Ardabil province is rich in cultural heritage and tourism, but suffers from a lack of investment and infrastructure, he added.

Ardabil’s potential in tourism, as well as tourists’ interest in visiting this province, has created the need for better infrastructure and investments in this field, he explained.

In 2019, Ardabil along with Sari, the capital of Mazandaran province, were selected as the cultural capitals of the Economic Cooperation Organization for 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Last April, the tourism authorities of the province announced that they had developed extensive plans to draw more tourists during the winter to the province and make it the winter tourism hub of the country.

Sprawling on a high, windswept plateau, Ardabil is well known for having abundant natural beauty, hospitable people, and its silk and carpet trade tradition. It is also home to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and the Shrine Ensemble.

The province is freezing in winter and mild in summer, attracting thousands every year. The capital city of Ardabil is usually recorded as one of the coldest cities in the country in winter.


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