Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the first marketing and statistics workshop held in the field of tourism, he referred to the tangible shortage of statistics in the sector and reiterated the need for development of such a statistical system by ICHTO that would release reliable statistics and information.
"The release of latest figures and information by ICHTO would enable both investors and administrators of the sector to expedite their projected plans more accurately.
"Assessment of the perspective of the national tourism industry and the cultural heritage sector reflect the remarkable progress already achieved and the promising prospect facing the government and nation," he added.
He urged that the ICHTO should embark on major investments while relying on the public participation and government's support.
Turning to the budget to be allocated to the organization as included in the budget draft for the coming fiscal year (starting March 21) already submitted to Majlis, he hoped that it will be ratified within a month, given the high significance of the sector.
Marashi referred to the diversity of Iran's tourism market and reiterated the need to diversify the output of the national tourist products as well.
Classifying Iran's tourism into three distinct fields of pilgrimage as well as touring the natural and cultural attractions, he stressed that the management and planning of the sector is quite complicated and needs further efforts.
He said that Iran's cooperation with WTO will pave the ground for expansion of the industry and hoped to be provided with such an opportunity to benefit from the expertise and achievements of other countries.
The official in charge of WTO's marketing and publicity department, John Kester, for his part said that WTO welcomes Iran's activities and efforts aiming to promote the industry, consolidate the national economic foundation and create jobs.
"Materializing long-term targets in the field of tourism seems to be complicated at the first sight. However, given the cultural profusion of the country and the hospitality of the Iranians the set goals can be achieved in a short time.
"Despite the problems faced in the past year such as the world terrorism, SAARC and the economic problems in the field of tourism, a 10 percent growth was witnessed in the sector on the international scene," he noted.
Putting the number of tourists in 2004 at 760 million, he said that a similar boost was also observed in the domain in 1984.
"The highest growth rate in the past year belonged to the Asia-Pacific area which stood at 29 percent, while the Middle East ranked second with a 20 percent growth," he added.
Kester noted that a five percent growth is predicted for 2005 and added, "Given that Iran is located in a region known for a good progress in tourism sector, long-term goals can well be reached by proper planning."
... Payvand News - 2/6/05 ... --