People, Travel

Iran to Host Silk Road Task Force Meeting

Iran to Host Silk Road Task Force MeetingIran to Host Silk Road Task Force Meeting

Iran will host the Sixth UNWTO Silk Road Task Force Meeting next year, said tourism deputy of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Morteza Rahmani Movahed.

The fifth meeting was held in April in Seoul, South Korea.

The UNWTO Silk Road Task Force plays a decisive role in determining the key strategies of UNWTO Silk Road Program, as well as driving the implementation and exchange of effective practices, ISNA reported.

“Silk Road is of key importance for Iran,” said Movahed, who has recently returned from the First Tourism Ministerial Meeting on the Silk Road Economic Belt in Xi’an, China.

He said the Silk Road Program allows Iran to expand ties with other countries. Therefore it is imperative to begin planning as soon as possible to meet the goals of the program.

The official said Iran must take full advantage of hosting the task force meeting to present the country’s tourism potential.

“Given Iran’s location, the country can bridge Asia to Europe, but to fulfill that role we need to brainstorm ideas and secure funding,” Movahed noted.

The ministerial meeting was held on the sidelines of the Seventh UNWTO International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism from June 18 to 20 in Xi’an. Ministers from Europe, Asia and the Middle East discussed key issues challenging tourism development along the Silk Road.

Representatives from Iran, China and Russia delivered speeches on deepening regional ties and improving tourism services and management.

Iran singled out two key issues as important for expanding tourism along the Silk Road: First, facilitating visa issuance or complete waiver of visas for member states; and second, checking the progress of IS in Syria and Iraq. The militant group has wreaked havoc in the two countries—which are located along the Silk Road—and have destroyed priceless cultural and historical heritage in the past year.

Both issues were acknowledged by the UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai and were included in the draft agenda of both meetings.

The international meeting on Silk Road tourism brought together senior officials and experts in the fields of tourism, heritage management, marketing and development. They exchanged ideas on how to raise the global profile of Silk Road tourism and drive sustainable development.

Movahed pointed to an exhibition on Silk Road tourism that will be held in China in summer and said information on Iran’s programs for the exhibition will be released soon.

The UNWTO Silk Road Program is a collaborative initiative designed to enhance sustainable tourism development along the historic Silk Road route. It aims to maximize the benefits of tourism development for local Silk Road communities, while stimulating investment and promoting the conservation of the route’s natural and cultural heritage. Additionally, it is working to foster greater cooperation between Silk Road countries and regions, with the aim of creating a seamless and memorable Silk Road travel experience.