Tourist Information Centers in 8 Countries

Tourist Information Centers in 8 CountriesTourist Information Centers in 8 Countries

In a ceremony held Thursday, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Masud Soltanifar presented 8 Iranians with licenses to operate a total of nine tourist information centers in countries across Europe and Asia.

Addressing the ceremony in Tehran, Soltanifar spoke of the importance of developing the tourism industry and expressed hope that the tourist information centers will be worthy representatives of Iran, Mehr news agency reported.

“Expanding our tourism network is imperative to developing the industry in Iran,” he said.

The nine centers are set to begin operation immediately in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, China (2 centers), Singapore, Malaysia, and Oman.

He stressed that in order to attract tourists, Iran needs to cooperate with the world at large. “We also need to develop our infrastructure; a task to which we are seriously committed.”

“The majority of western tourists speak of how different Iran is compared to how the western media portrays it,” he asserted.

He also announced plans to open ten more centers in the current Iranian year (started March 21), adding, “We have targeted a total of 44 countries spread across the Persian Gulf region and Southeast Asia, and we plan on opening more centers every year.”

  Dispelling Negative Sentiments

Deputy head of ICHHTO Morteza Rahmani Movahed also took to the podium to address the attendees, and said, “The efforts of our representatives abroad will not only boost Iran’s image, but will also help tourist information offices in Iran to better prepare themselves to cater to foreign tourists,” ISNA reported.

Dispelling anti-Iranian sentiments – or Iranophobia – will go a long way towards attracting foreign tourists, he stressed.

“However, things get complicated when politics are involved,” he conceded.

Attracting a large number of tourists might be difficult given Iran’s infrastructure, so concentrating on specific type of tourists, such as those interested in sports and culture tourism is a more realistic goal, the agency quoted Rahmani Movahed as saying.

The centers’ responsibilities include - but are not limited to - publishing and disseminating information about tourist attractions and art and craft in Iran; facilitating travel to Iran; providing information to potential investors; and organizing familiarization tours of Iran for journalists.

Iran has targeted 20 million tourists by 2025 in accordance with the country’s 20-year Vision Plan, and officials believe establishing tourist information centers abroad will help achieve that goal.