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Iran's New Tourism Chief Forges Global Ties at UNWTO 2017

Mounesan discussed ties with Iran's target countries as well as the global body during the event
Ali Asghar Mounesan, the ICHHTO chief, addressed the 22nd General Assembly of UNWTO in Chengdu, China, on Sept. 13. Ali Asghar Mounesan, the ICHHTO chief, addressed the 22nd General Assembly of UNWTO in Chengdu, China, on Sept. 13.

The 22nd General Assembly of the United Nations World Tourism Organization has provided an opportunity for the new administration of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization to boost global cooperation.

The biannual event, which opened on Sept. 11 in Chengdu, China, is hosting delegates from over 150 countries and representatives from more than 500 UNWTO affiliate members representing public and private organizations, NGOs and educational institutions.

Iran is represented at the assembly by a delegation headed by Ali Asghar Mounesan, the recently appointed ICHHTO chief, IRNA reported.

Mounesan discussed ties with Iran's target countries as well as the global body.  

In a meeting with UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai on the sidelines of the meeting, the ICHHTO chief pointed to WTO's cooperation for revising and updating Iran's national comprehensive tourism plan and called on the organization to maintain its support.

"Iran's varied historical, cultural and natural attractions, along with its four-season climate, make it an ideal location to appeal to all kinds of tourists," he said.

Rifai also underlined Iran's potentials for becoming a major destination.

"Iran and the UNWTO can increase cooperation in education and counseling," he said.

China, the host of the assembly, is the world's largest outbound travel market. To increase Iran's share of the market, Mounesan met with tourism officials of China during the event.

"Launching direct flights between Iran and different cities of China like Beijing, Shanghai and Urumqi will enable greater exchange of tourists between the two countries," he said.

He also invited Chinese media to join familiarization tours and prepare reports to promote Iran in the East Asian country.

On the sidelines of the event, scheduled to end on Sept. 16, the official also met with the tourism authorities of Georgia, Turkey, Oman and Azerbaijan to discuss bilateral ties.

Meetings with other Caspian Sea littoral states, namely Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, also topped Mounesan's agenda.

  Comprehensive Management Essential  

In his speech on Wednesday, Mounesan stressed the importance of "comprehensive management" of tourism.

"Tourism has been long known as an efficient means of development, but the recent challenge is how to use the potential of this diverse and intersectoral industry to achieve sustainable development of local economies," he was quoted as saying by Mehr News Agency.

He added that close cooperation between the public and private sector is a primary step toward comprehensive management.

"Strategic investment on human resources with the aim of creating tourism bodies comprising members of varied sectors is a next step toward the goal," he said.

Mounesan also highlighted the role of information and communication technologies in advancing the industry.  

"At present, technology must be used more than before in tourism plans, especially regarding the empowerment of private sector," he said.

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In line with this, the 22nd General Assembly was themed "Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals: Journey to 2030".

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