People, Travel

1st ACD Tourism Meet Kicks Off in Tabriz

Jame’ Mosque of TabrizJame’ Mosque of Tabriz

The first Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting on Tourism kicks off today (August 29) in the northwestern city of Tabriz, East Azarbaijan Province.

The two-day summit, hosted by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, provides a platform for regional countries to discuss avenues of cooperation and facilitate travel in a bid to boost tourism, especially in the Middle East whose tourism is threatened by strife and terrorism.

Although local media report that they expect all 34 member states of ACD to attend the confab, the ICHHTO announced two weeks ago that only 13 countries have made clear their intention to be present.

They include Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Thailand, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Tabriz’s hosting of the event is significant because the city has been chosen as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018, and Iranian authorities hope to be able to use this opportunity to promote the city’s attractions to the top tourism officials of Asian countries.

The capital of the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Tabriz predates the Islamic conquest of Persia. It served as the capital city of a number of dynasties following the conquest.

During its long history, the city was ransacked by Mongolian raiders and Ottoman invaders and razed by devastating earthquakes, but was rebuilt every time.

The city hosts a number of famed religious sites, including the Jame’ Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Bazaar of Tabriz.

In September, Tabriz was declared a World Craft City by the World Craft Council.

The ACD is a continent-wide forum established in June 2002 in Cha-Am, Thailand, where 18 Asian foreign ministers met for the first time. Now boasting 34 member states, the ACD’s stated aim is to “constitute the missing link in Asia by incorporating every Asian country and building an Asian community without duplicating other organizations or creating a bloc against others.”