Iran offers ‘best use of communication technologies’ to spur tourism growth

September 14, 2017 - 2:20

TEHRAN – Iran’s tourism chief on Wednesday urged global representatives at a UNWTO General Assembly to make the best use of digital technologies particularly in communication arena as a means for developing worldwide tourism and hospitality sectors.

“I believe that today information and communication technologies should be used more than ever for policy making and implementing tourism programs as well as empowering private and voluntary sectors,” Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Asghar Mounesan said.

Mounesan who doubles as vice president made the remarks in an address to the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly meeting being held in Chengdu, China, from September 11 to 16.

Meanwhile, he reminded attendees of “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” as the dominant theme for the 2018 World Tourism Day.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official explained how tourism becomes an integral part of the government’s structure for achieving sustainable development goals and how it is effectively used in national development programs.

He went on to say that tourism has long been accepted as an effective tool for development, but a challenge that has been recently raised is how to potentially impart this decentralized and heterogeneous industry to a driving potency for inclusive and sustainable growth with making a positive impact on local economies.

Mounesan added that a very important but basic step towards inclusive tourism management is to adopt an integrated approach by all government institutions for the formulation and implementation of tourism policies, which involves the development of a strong cooperation structure between institutions of public and private sectors.

“The development of tourism based on innovation and entrepreneurship along with initial investment in human capital is the next step that should be pursued with the goal of creating inclusive tourism institutions,” the official explained.

“On behalf of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, I express my gratitude to the United Nations World Tourism Organization for its continued participation in the promotion of sustainable tourism development. I invite all of us to work together to create more inclusive tourism and accountability for future generations,” he concluded.

                                          A poster for the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly being held in Chengdu, China from September 11 to 16, 2017.

The biannual UNWTO General Assembly discusses how to advance the contribution of tourism to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and define the actions of the Organization for the period 2018-2019.

“A unique opportunity to get the [tourism] sector united towards the common goal of making tourism a true driver of sustainable development,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai prior to his arrival in China.

A high-level debate on tourism and the SDGs, a special session on smart tourism, the celebrations of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, the conversion of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics into an international Convention and current trends of the tourism sector are all integrated into the agenda of the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly.

The assembly will also discuss the lines of action and key priorities of the Organization for the two coming years.

PHOTO: Tourism ministers and high-profile representatives of various countries pose for a photo during the 22nd UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China, September 13, 2017.