Renewed Focus on Tourism to Improve Growth Rates

TCC's tourism commission invited police chiefs to a meeting to discuss cooperation in helping the sector grow
Tourists are in contact with various organizations, among which the police play a key role.Tourists are in contact with various organizations, among which the police play a key role.

The tourism commission of Tehran Chamber of Commerce held a meeting on Saturday with officials at different divisions of the Law Enforcement Force to involve the police in the development of the industry.

The commission seeks to remove the obstacles to the growth of tourism through closer cooperation with relevant entities, including the customs authorities, municipalities and the police.

Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the head of the commission, said that from the moment of entry, tourists are in contact with various organizations, among which the police play a key role.  "Therefore, TCC's tourism commission has invited police chiefs to the meeting to share experiences with the private sector and discuss any new ideas," he said.

He pointed out that fundamental plans call for raising tourist arrivals so as to increase the economic share of the industry by up to 40%.

"Increasing the number of inbound tourists is of great importance both in terms of culture and job and revenue generation," he said, TCC's news portal reported.

  Police as Facilitator

Farrokh Mirshahvalad, an expert at the commission, stressed the necessity of interaction between tourism authorities and security forces, saying that "the police should act as a facilitator and supporter of travel".

"Facilitating entry and exit procedures, showing proper behavior toward travelers, easing traffic for tourist vehicles, offering guidance to tourists and clarifying the dos and don'ts are among our expectations of the police," he said.

Representatives of the private sector also attended the conference and discussed their issues with regard to police operations.

Akbar Ghamkhar, a member of the board of directors of the Iranian Tour Operators Society, voiced criticism about the state of chaos at entry gates in Imam Khomeini International Airport.

He highlighted the key role of proper behavior toward travelers at the airport.

"We had already offered free training courses for Immigration and Passport Police staff on the correct way of behaving toward tourists in three tourist-friendly countries. We hereby make that offer once more," he said.

Nasser Andalib, the head of the training center at TCC, expressed readiness to offer courses for all police personnel that are in contact with tourists.

Ghamkhar also called on the security police to ensure safety around areas popular with tourists and hotels to prevent theft of tourists' belongings.

"The police should also take measures to stop illegal tour operations at borders," he demanded, proposing that all inbound tour operators should be obliged to obtain a certificate from the police.

Akbar Rashidi, a police representative, suggested that a memorandum of understanding be signed with TCC to cooperate in resolving the existing problems which was welcomed by the attendants.

Colonel Bahram Mahmoudi from the Iranian Prevention Police said that establishing a separate body to provide safety specifically for tourists is not possible based on the regulations of the office of the chairman of the General Staff of the Armed Forces.

"But the task can be assigned to private security companies [under LEF's license]," he said.

In the end, the participants agreed to form a working group made up of TCC and LEF members to make decision on holding training courses, reforming regulations and signing MoUs.


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