Tehran, May 22 (CHN) - A high status delegation from Spain's Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism traveling to Iran met yesterday with Hussein Mar'ashi, director of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, signing a MOU for the development of tourism industry.
The 8-strong Spanish delegation included Raimon Martinez Freil, the deputy minister and tourism secretary general of Spain's Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Tourism, and other tourism officials of the country who visited yesterday with Mar'ashi carrying out discussions on practical plans to help tourism development.
"We plan to restore 30 historical cities of Iran during the next 5-year development plan, and cooperation with Spain can be of great benefits for us," said Mar'ashi, emphasizing the need for Iran to take advantage of the experiences of Spain as the second tourist destination of the world.
Iran with its diverse climates and historical remains scattered all around the country enjoys a great potential for attracting international tourists; however, the country still has a long way to reach the desired condition. As Mar'ashi explained in the meeting with Spanish officials, Iran is serious to pave its way forward with cooperations with other countries.
In a press conference held afterwards, Raimon Martinez Freil expressed hope that tourism be developed from Iran and Middle East to Spain, explaining that last year just 20,000 Middle Eastern tourists visited Spain, compared to a total tourist numbers of 56 million.
According to Freil, the low number of direct flights to Spain, traditional differences, and lack of tourism cooperations between the two regions, are among the inconveniences which hold back the tourists from traveling to Spain.
Referring to the recent trip of Mar'ashi to Spain and agreements reached for cooperations, Freil explained that the two countries will be cooperating in areas of tourist development with regard to statistics, new facilities, tourist residences, communication, and use of cultural heritage in favor of tourism.
The most important factors in developing the tourism industry of Spain have, according to Spain, been tourist-related products, besides the country's nature and cultural heritage, advertising, and the high quality of facilities.
Answering to a question about how Iran should try to develop its tourism industry, Freil confronted the reporters and Iranian officials with three questions: "What are your tourist products? Where are you planning to sell those products? And how are you planning to sell them?"
The Spanish delegation took part in a tourism development seminar in Laleh International Hotel of Tehran and then signed with its Iranian counterparts the practical plan for carrying out the memorandum of understanding signed in 2003 between the two countries in Madrid.
The plan includes diverse activities including information and statistics exchange, rules and regulations of joint investments, the traveling of a Spanish media delegation to Iran to visit the country's tourist attractions to introduce them to the Spanish by means of the media, cooperations of travel agencies and hotels, training programs for tourism-related institutes, cooperations between the private sectors, etc.
Moreover, Spain is to support Iran to ease its becoming a member of the executive committee of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) from 2006 to 2009.
... Payvand News - 5/23/05 ... --