Tehran is hosting more than 300 tour leaders from 45 countries at the 17th ‘WFTGA Convention: Iran’.
According to Iranian media, the opening ceremony of the 17th World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) Convention was held on Saturday in Tehran.
The event with ‘IRAN; Friendly Faces, Open Arms, Ancient Cultures, Timeless Charms’ as its motto, hosts world tour guides in 2017 which has been introduced by the United Nations as the year of tourism for sustainable development.
In an address at the opening ceremony, President Hassan Rouhani said tourism serves as a bridge between nations.
Highlighting the principal role of tourism, the president referred to tour guides, saying: “You as the servants to the cultural heritage, tell the younger generation of ancient civilization of the human being and historical works.”
President Rouhani addresses at the opening ceremony of 17th ‘WFTGA Convention: Iran’, Tehran, January 28 (Credit: Surf Iran)
According to Arash Nouraqaei, who heads the Iranian Guild of Tour Leaders, the event is the biggest of its kind in 2017.
He added that the gathering provides the best opportunity for Iran to introduce its tourism potentials to the world at the highest level as tour leaders participating in the event are in fact tourism ambassadors who will convey Iran’s message to the world.
In the past 34 years, during which the event has witnessed 16 editions, no high-ranking official attended whereas Iran will, for the first time, host senior officials including Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai, the official added.
WFTGA is a non-profit specialized organization for promoting high standards of training and ethics within the tourism industry. The WFTGA events are held every two years.
Iran has launched extensive plans to bolster its tourism sector. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country is expecting to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.
The country has also offered to grant years of tax exemption to both domestic and foreign businesses and individuals as an incentive for ramping up investments in its tourism sector.
For the time being, citizens of about 190 countries can obtain visa on arrival at the country’s airports with one-month validation.
IranThisWay contributed to this report
Photo Credit: Tehran Times