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Iran: Government sees cultural heritage and tourism as areas of great importance

Tehran, May 11, IRNA -- Vice-President and head of the Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Seyed Hossein Mar'ashi said that integration of the organization and the Iran Travel and Tour Organization (ITTO) is of great importance.

He told IRNA that the move marks the government's determination to protect, introduce and resuscitate the country's historico-cultural legacy as well as promote its tourism industry.

"In line with the development of its tourist industry and with a realistic approach to international markets, Iran should be in a position to capture a greater share of both the domestic and international tourism market.

"To achieve the goals set in the field, short, long and medium term plans will be implemented," he added.

He said making use of the country's tourism potentials is one of the short-term plans that have been considered, adding that efforts to increase foreign capital into the country's tourism infrastructure will also be increasingly considered, taking into account foreign investment laws.

The official noted that training of managers and updating of knowhow are some of the other short-term plans that are being considered.

"Facilitating the issuance of passports to foreign tourists, aggressive advertising to tap international target markets and establishment of close contacts with tourist agencies of the private sector are some of the medium-term plans," he added.

Mar'ashi further said that some 20 million foreign tourists have been targeted to enter the country by 2025, the goal having been integrated into the organizational long-term programs of the organization and which is expected to earn some 15 billion dollars in hard currency revenue.

Turning to culture as a special area in Iran's tourism policy, he said: "We should look for tourists who are familiar who have a love for rich history and culture and who respect our people as well as our cultural-religious tradition.

"Given that there are no legal and cultural obstacles interfering with the presence of foreign tourists in the country, their safety is ensured and existing laws and righ culture support both national and foreign tourists."

Mar'ashi reiterated the need to expand the close, multi-sided cooperation in the field with international and regional bodies such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"Since Iran is paying membership fees in (those) organizations, our nation is definitely entitled to benefit from their expertise as well as their financial and scientific facilities in the field of tourism," he said.

Stressing the difficulty the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization is encountering in protecting over one million ancient monuments and 200,000 historical monuments and sites, he called for public assistance in the job.

... Payvand News - 5/11/04 ... --

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