People, Travel

Pavilion Attracts Attention at China Fair

Pavilion Attracts Attention at China FairPavilion Attracts Attention at China Fair

The 12th China Outbound Travel and Tourism Market exhibition, which had started April 12 in Beijing, ended on Thursday with Iran being one of main talking points among the visitors and participating countries.

Tour operators and private companies representing Iran in the expo told reporters that representatives from several countries, including China and Turkey, visited the Iranian pavilion in person and expressed willingness to expand tourism ties.

China’s annual outbound tourists figure amounts to over 100 million, which makes the event particularly important to countries striving to improve their inbound tourism.

“It is a big opportunity for Iran to benefit from the greatest outbound tourism market in the world,” said Abbas Ashraf Vaqefi, a travel agent at the expo, IRNA reported.  

Pointing to the historic Silk Road as evidence of ancient trade ties between the two countries, he said Iran is well-positioned to tap into the Chinese outbound market.

“We can generate a lot of revenue by attracting Chinese tourists, so long as relevant bodies make an effort to establish sustainable relations,” Vaqefi noted.

Amir Hussein Jafari, CEO of another tourism company, pointed to the huge number of Chinese people who travel abroad and stressed that Iran “must certainly have a share of the Chinese outbound market.”

Around 100 exhibitors presented their tourism services at the fair. According to eyewitnesses, the Iranian pavilion received a lot of attention this year driven by being the only politically stable country in the Middle East and the lifting of economic sanctions in January, thanks to the signing of the nuclear deal in July last year between Iran and the six world powers, including China.

The Iranian delegation reportedly received no support from authorities in Tehran, leaving their hands tied while competing with exhibitors who had more funding and were better prepared.

Iran has been eying the Chinese market for well over a decade, but poor infrastructure and lack of planning has handicapped efforts to draw tourists from the world’s largest country in terms of population.

Tourism officials say despite the rise in the number of Chinese tourists in Iran in the past couple of years, the number is a far cry from the country’s objective, which is to attract at least 5% of China’s 100 million outbound travelers.