People, Travel

Ardebil Tour Operators Wait in Vain

Ardebil Tour Operators Wait in VainArdebil Tour Operators Wait in Vain

Tour operators in Ardebil Province are gearing up for one of the world’s largest travel exhibitions in Germany, but a lack of funds is a constraint they need to overcome,  according to an official at the provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

The reputable ITB Berlin expo (March 9-13, 2016) is an annual event that usually draws 10,000 participants from 185 countries, providing a platform for professionals as well as avid travelers to mingle and connect.

Qader Taqizadeh, tourism deputy at the organization, told Mehr News Agency that it is “imperative for Ardebil to participate in international expos to showcase its potential to tourists and investors alike.”

“We need financial assistance if we are to have a strong presence at the expo,” he said.

Twenty companies are set to represent Iran in Fitur 2016, a five-day event (January 20-24, 2016) held every year in Madrid. But no travel firms from Ardebil will be present at the event.

“We’ve already missed out on Fitur, we can’t afford to miss ITB Berlin,” Qaderzadeh added.

Ardebil needs some 800 million rials ($22,000) to attend the event. Officials had requested the provincial office of the Management and Planning Organization to fund Ardebil’s delegation to Berlin, but the organization turned them down, citing then usual “lack of funds.”

A total of 12 Ardebil-based firms have expressed readiness to participate in ITB Berlin.

According to the official, Ardebil tour operators took part in only one international exhibition this year; Azarbaijan’s annual AITF event.

For years, tourism officials have cited poor funding as the main reason behind Iran’s lack of participation in international exhibitions. In fact, the private sector has been more vocal about not receiving any support from ICHHTO to participate in key global expos. In an interview with the Persian travel news website Donyay-e-Safar in July, the promotion and marketing deputy at ICHHTO’s Tourism Department, Ali Baqer Nemati Zargaran, said measures have been taken to bring the public and private sectors closer and enhance cooperation.