World’s Tourist Guides to Meet in Iran in 2017
After months of negotiations, publicity and promotion, Iran succeeded to win the bid to host the 2017 International Convention of World Federation of Tourist Guide Association (WFTGA).
The World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) Convention is the largest, most important gathering of tour guides the world over, which is held every two years under the direct supervision of WFTGA.
Iran won the bid with total 18 votes in a very close competition with Denmark and Singapore in the final round. Singapore with 11 votes, and Denmark with 3 were not able to beat Iran.
To defend the bid, 8 members of Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Association (IFTGA) traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic, for the 16th WFTGA 2015 convention, reported CHN.
Mohsen Haji Saeed, Pegah Latifi, Atefeh Dehghan, Mahsa Motahar, Majid Erfanian, Masih Sharif, Hossein Dehghan, and Arash Nour-Aghaee were the eight representatives of IFTGA promoted Iran’s position through various programs.
Come2Iran Facebook Campaign was one of the programs to invite people from around the world to visit Iran and get the chance to have a taste of Persian hospitality in a modest and friendly atmosphere.
Prague-based Iranian tour guides, who welcomed the visitors, wore traditional Persian costumes and served Persian tea in Iranian, the customary small cups and saucers.
Promotional catalogues, PowerPoint presentations, and brochures highlighting Iran’s tourism attractions were presented. A quiz designed to test the participants’ knowledge about Iran, based on information in the presentations and catalogues was also passed around. Winners get 50% discount on travel to Iran, to be used within two years.
Arash Nour-Aghaee, head of IFTGA, elaborated on how the bid was made and won. Copies of a promotional film on Iran’s tourism potential, which also outlined the program of the 5-day 2017 convention, different tour routes, and capabilities of the IFTGA were handed out to the convention members. Copies of letters, emails, and testimonials by foreign travelers who had visited Iran were also available.
“We did whatever we could to best present our country, and our efforts finally paid off,” he asserted.
Mahsa Motahar who attended a workshop on the role of guides in political crises, noted that “we are victims of media propaganda. We have the least number of crises in the country affecting tourists’ safety and security, yet our name is often mentioned in the media as a risk.”
She further added “we ran the Come2Iran campaign to disprove the fallacy, and convey our message of hospitality to the world.”
“It was the first time Iran participated in the convention and our guides managed to draw everyone’s attention to Iran, in only four days. We were envoys of peace, and succeeded in getting the opportunity to change world view on Iran as a safe and secure country to travel to,” said Mohsen Haji saeed, head of the international relations department at IFTGA.
Election for WFTGA chairman of the board was held during the convention and Felicitas Wressnig from Austria got the position. She is the president of World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations who, last year, attended the 7th gathering of the association and the international tourist guides day celebration in Kerman as the special guest.
The 16th WFTGA 2015 Convention was held on January 26 – 30 in Prague, Czech Republic with the slogan of “Central Europe - The Historical Crossroads of Cultures” New Approaches to Interpreting Cultural and Natural Heritage.