Travel Fairs Top Gov’t Agenda

Travel Fairs Top Gov’t AgendaTravel Fairs Top Gov’t Agenda

Due to the impact of tourism on cultural, economic and social development, the government is duty-bound to promote Iran’s nascent travel market and will spare no effort and expense, according to a senior official at the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

“This includes paving the way for the private sector to jump in the fray and help develop the sector,” Ali Baqer Nemati Zargaran, director of the Marketing and Promotion Office at the ICHHTO, told Mehr News Agency. “This is the norm in the world’s top holiday destinations.”

The official conceded that the government, and by extension the ICHHTO, “lacks the necessary funds” to market Iranian tourism the way it ought to be promoted on the international stage, but noted that the private sector is more than willing to step up the task.

“We’ve discussed the matter with private enterprises and they have pledged to do their part to help make Iran a tourism hotspot,” Zargaran said.

Private sector firms, such as the Kish and Qeshm free zone organizations, have started representing Iran at international events.

The ICHHTO, whose chief — Masoud Soltanifar — is a vice president, has prioritized international trade fairs it believes Iran should participate in, to be able to better promote its domestic attractions and help draw foreign visitors.

Zargaran said by prioritizing the events, Iran can focus on each individual exhibition and plan ahead.

“We didn’t have a regular plan earlier; the events we’d attend were scattered all over the world. But now, we’ve pinpointed the exhibitions we believe are most likely to yield results, and we’ve chosen them based on various criteria,” he was quoted as saying by the news agency.

  Constant Presence

Prioritizing travel exhibitions and planning ahead will also allow Iran to have a constant presence at the events, unlike before when it was unclear whether Iran would take part.

“We’ve already started making arrangements, such as renting pavilions and securing visas for our delegations, to take part in major 2016 tourism expos.”

In collaboration with the Foreign Ministry, the ICHHTO prepared a list of 40 target countries last year in which to promote Iranian tourism, which has helped the organization prioritize international events. The list includes countries such as Russia, India, China and Spain.

“For example, we never took part in Moscow’s MITT travel expo, but we sent our first delegation to the event last year and we’ll be there later this month as well,” he said.

Iranian travel and tourism firms will exhibit at ITB Berlin (March 9-13), AITF in Baku (April 7-9), Dubai’s ATM (April 25-28) and three travel exhibitions in China by the end of 2016.

Earlier this year, Iran took part in Fitur in Madrid and BIT in Milan.