The Fifth International ECO-Silk Road Food Festival was held in Zanjan, Iran on 18-21 April 2019 by hosting Zanjan Provincial “Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization”. This festival was attended by the ECO Member States and Silk Road members including Afghanistan, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Oman, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, as well as Commercial representatives of Russian. A sizeable number of local restaurants and handicrafts producers also showed up in the Event this year.
The ECO Secretariat delegation including H.E. Mr. Kanan Nazarov, Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Memduh Unal, Director of Agriculture, Industry and Tourism and Ms. Nasrin Esmaeili Program Officer of Industry and Tourism participated in this event.
Mr. Kanan Nazarov, Mr. Teymouri, Deputy Head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism (ICHTO), Governor of Zanjan and some local officials delivered their statements at the opening ceremony of the Festival.
In his statement, ECO Deputy Secretary General with mentioning to the significant potential of the ECO region for being one of the major tourism destinations in the world stated that ECO region is between and nearby two important global tourism markets Europe and China and revival of the Ancient Silk Road would contribute to the development of tourism industry in the ECO Region.
He further stated that more than 60 million International tourists travelled to ECO region in 2017 which constitutes 4.5 percent of total tourist movements in the World. He also highlighted that in the ECO region more than 3 million individuals directly and 6.2 million indirectly were engaged in tourism economy in 2017 and Tourism revenues of the region were around 42.7 billion dollars in 2017.
Mr. Nazarov also mentioned that ECO Secretariat is mandated by the Member States to promote tourism industry in the region through developing proper strategies and policies. In this regard ECO Secretariat prepared draft of the new projects in Tourism Sector and he believed that all ECO Member States will cooperate on these Projects to promote tourism in the region.
Cooks from the Eco and Silk Road region cooked their native and regional foods for 4 days. The closing ceremony of the Festival was held on 21 April in Caspian International Permanent Fairground of Zanjan in the presence of the local and invited officials.