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Iran needs to attract more European tourists: WTO chief Frangialli

Berlin, March 12, IRNA-Iran has to intensify its efforts to attract more European tourists into the country, the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) Francesco Frangialli told IRNA in an exclusive interview in Berlin on Friday evening.

"Iran has mainly depended on regional tourism from neighboring countries. That's good but in addition it's important to have an increase of tourists from western Europe," said Frangialli.

Referring to his talks with Iranian Vice-President and head of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization Hossein Marashi on the sidelines of this year's ITB tourism fair, Frangialli stressed the urgent need to promote a "positive image of Iran" to the world in a bid to lure more foreign tourists.

He voiced his organization's readiness to "help in the promotion of Iran's positive image".

Frangialli pointed out that "tensions over Iran's nuclear problem" and the crisis in neighboring Iraq have had a negative effect on Iran's tourism image.

Asked about Iran's ambitious project to promote its tourism industry, Frangialli expressed satisfaction that the plan is now "really underway and being implemented".

He said his organization's cooperation with Iran focused on three main points -- namely launching training programmes for Iranian tourism personnel, promoting and enhancing the image of Iran's tourism industry as well as job creation in Iran's tourism sector.

Pointing to WTO's upcoming projects to promote Iran's tourism industry, Frangialli added, "We are contemplating two things:

One is to organize press trips to Iran to make the international press familiar with Iranian tourism. The other is a conference in November which links tourism with handicraft production."

"I think a lot of jobs can be created in the handicraft sector when it is tied to the overall tourism development," he said.

Frangialli who has toured the Islamic Republic on several occasions, praised Iran's 30 percent rise in the number of foreign tourists in 2004, calling it "fantastic".

"I am convinced of Iran's excellent tourism potential, especially in terms of natural and cultural tourism," he added.

... Payvand News - 3/12/05 ... --

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