People, Travel

Eighth Tehran International Tourism Exhibition

Eighth Tehran International Tourism ExhibitionEighth Tehran International Tourism Exhibition

The secretary general of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai will attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Tehran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition on February 12, Persian daily Donya-e Eqtesad quoted tourism deputy of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Morteza Rahmani-Movahed as saying.

The exhibition will run from February 12 -15, in the Tehran Permanent Fairground, close to Tehran’s Chamran highway. It has different sections, and the booth design has a desert theme, with reference to caravans.

The show was touted as the first of its kind in Iran by the organizers with the aim to pitch Iran as a regional and international tourist hub.

Regarding the choice of date, Rahmani-Movahed explained there are two types of tourism exhibitions: those that are associated with a special occasion in the calendar, and those that target a specific market or industry.  “This exhibit is of the latter kind, usually held in the low season, and this is why February seemed appropriate for the event.”

As to whether a criteria was used for selecting invited countries, he answered the tourism industry is an interactional field; the events are of mutual benefit for the hosts and the participants alike.  Therefore the invitation is open to whichever country feels whey can benefit from participation.  It is enough to look to the neighboring countries who organize large exhibitions each year; none of them cherry-pick countries to join the event.

In spite of ICHHTO’s efforts, a very few countries have responded positively to the Tehran exhibition. Of 145 international tourism organizations on the list, only 11 countries have shown an interest.  There were numerous correspondences between ICHHTO and the prospective countries, but in line with his previous statement the tourism deputy noted: “It is up to countries themselves to be convinced of the exhibition’s benefit, we can only do so much.”

Some countries expected to be offered free booths; “but we do not offer free booths. The practice is obsolete in specialized exhibitions. It cannot and should not be practiced,” Rahmani-Movahed said.

“As policy makers, we have prepared grounds to host tourism patrons”. This is an opportunity for participants to introduce themselves and present their travel packages, especially the packages for the Iranian New Year holiday season (March 20 – April 2).

Health tourism has been granted a separate section. There are also free booths for NGOs, as they hold special importance for ICHHTO, he clarified.

  Rise in Participants

Managing director of the International Exhibitions Company and executive manager of the upcoming exhibition Farhad Aminian said the exhibition will cover an area of 26,000 sq meters, with seven halls, housing 320 foreign and domestic companies. The participants have been categorized and grouped on the basis of their services.

Countering the disappointing international response, the executive manager pointed out that there were 50% higher domestic participants compared to last year. They are grouped as follows: hoteliers and guest-house managers, travel agencies, handicrafts specialists, banks and insurance companies, those involved in health tourism, tour-organizers and eco-tourism specialists.

Ninety domestic travel agencies are participating in the event, which is up 75% compared to last year. Currently, there are about 300 Iranian agencies and companies active in the travel industry, who could not be accommodated due to the lack of space. There were also agencies willing to participate, but did not have the required professional permits.

The exhibition has always been held in January or February. Travel agencies prefer the last three months of the Iranian calendar year, coinciding with January, February, and March, to introduce their services, especially their holiday packages.

Booths cost about $30 per meter. Furnished booths are $36 per sq meter. The covered area of the exhibition is 11,700 sq meters. Around 400 sq meters is allocated to the foreign participants, namely South Korea, India, Turkey, Switzerland, Venezuela, Armenia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Tunisia, and Malaysia. The fee for the foreign participants is in the region of between $136 and $250, Aminian said.