Iraq, Iran Sign Deal to Foster Tourism Coop.

Iraq, Iran Sign Deal to Foster Tourism Coop.

An executive plan for tourism cooperation between Iran and Iraq was signed this week, Mehr News reported.
In a high commission meeting for cooperation between the two countries,in Baghdad, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Masud Soltanifar and Iraqi Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Adel Fahad al-Sharshab signed an executive plan on touristic cooperation.
The commission was presided by the first deputy president Eshaq Jahangiri and Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Ebadi, and attended by senior officials of the both countries.
The plan is in line with previous agreements. Based on the cooperation document, touristic interaction will be developed, and travel services offered to Iraqi visitors and pilgrims in Iran will be organized and improved.
Certain areas of interaction were emphasized, including participation in exhibitions; facilitating visa requirements and transportation; introducing travel agencies, and preparing grounds for mutual cooperation; and presenting comprehensive travel plans to visit historical, religious, and natural attractions of the two countries.
Supported by private travel agencies, a joint technical committee will implement the plan.
Soltanifar referred to Iran’s capacities and potentials in tourism – religious, historical, or natural – and asserted Tehran’s resolve in reinforcing and expanding mutual ties with Iraq, particularly in improving the services to Iraqi tourists and pilgrims.
He announced ICHHTO’s readiness to share experience in various fields such as restoration of historical monuments and buildings. The organization can also organize a special exhibition in Iraq, displaying touristic potentials.  
Soltanifar expressed gratitude to the Iraqi officials for the services offered to over one million Iranian pilgrims in Iraq during the religious ceremonies of Arba’een, and stressed the need for development of ties with neighboring countries, noting that Iraq has a significant status in Iran’s foreign policy.
Iraqi officials appreciated Iran’s measures in providing a safe environment and offering services for Iraqi pilgrims.
They considered holy shrines in Iraq, as well as the shrine of Imam Reza (AS) in Mashhad city as blessings for the two countries.
The signing of the cooperation document was a big, essential step toward reinforcing the mutual ties, Fahad al-Sharshab said, and urged both parties to convene the joint technical committee as soon as possible.
Among activities that will help in implementing the document, are facilitating visa issuance, establishing joint offices at borders, and founding joint touristic centers, Sharshab said, and referred to Iraq’s numerous historical and natural attractions which can support mutual touristic interactions.
  Exhibition in Iraq
As a further step toward mutual collaboration, a special Iran exhibition was inaugurated Tuesday, February 17 in Baghdad.
Jahangiri, Iranian first vice president, and Soltanifar, along with a delegation of Iranian officials attended the opening ceremony.
Soltanifar visited the tourism pavilion of the exhibition, and reviewed the tourism services offered to Iraqi tourists by Iranian tour and travel companies.
The ICHHTO official paid special attention to firms offering medical services, to further attract medical tourists from Iraq, as well as to share knowledge with Iranian companies working in the neighboring countries to map out a way to augment and improve medical tourism in Iran.
The exhibition covers Iran’s achievements in various areas such as production and export of oil and gas, technical and engineering services, water and electricity, car manufacturing, medicines and medical equipments and medical tourism.
A large group of Iranian merchants, investors, manufacturers, import and export experts and others involved in different fields in economy participated in the three-day event.


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