On the invitation of the National Cultural Industries and Science and Technology Park of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the delegation of the Economic Cooperation Organization, headed by ECO Secretary General H.E. Ambassador Khusrav Noziri, participated in the opening ceremony of an International Cultural Tourism Exhibition organized in the Kish Island on September 5-6, 2022. A number of other important invitees, including the Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran, the Ambassadors of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in Tehran, Representatives of the Embassies of Tأ¼rkiye, Pakistan and Japan, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran attended the event.
The Exhibition’s Executive Manager and CEO of the Sateen Institute, Mrs. Mohaddeseh Vahidimehr pleased to welcome the participants to the event’s opening ceremony. Moreover, the Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran Mrs. Maryam Jalali, while receiving the guests in a quite receptive manner, inaugurated the Expo activities. She underlined the geographic importance of Iran and said that her country is committed to promoting culture of peace, adding that this cultural tourism EXPO is also a manifestation of Iranian culture. Referring the selection of Ardabil as the ECO Tourism Capital for 2023, the Member of Iranian Parliament Mrs. Hajar Chenarani highlighted the possibility of holding a similar exhibition in Ardabil sometime in 2023.
The ECO Secretary General noted that the Kish Island or the Pearl of the Persian Gulf is famous for its attractive beaches, appealing nature, huge economic and tourism potential, improved infrastructure as well as tourist facilities. He stressed that cultural tourism promotes and facilitates a variety of activities within the umbrella of tourism. From the ECO perspective, he said that the promotion of tourism remains on top of their cooperative agenda, briefing on some important initiatives and activities of the Organization, including the annual selection of ECO Tourism Capitals, as well as the events regarding declaration of the Dushanbe City of Tajikistan and Sari City of Iran as the ECO tourism Capitals for 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Regarding the proclamation of Ardabil City of Iran as ECO Tourism Capital for 2023, the Secretary General apprised that the ECO Secretariat is working closely with the Iranian authorities to arrange different tourism and cultural activities on the occasion. He also conveyed that the 4th ECO Ministerial Meeting on Tourism to be held at Samarkand City of Uzbekistan on November 1, 2022 is expected to adopt a Road Map on Facilitating Accelerated Recovery, Safe and Sustainable Development of Tourism after COVID-19 in the ECO Region.
Addressing the gathering, the Chief Executive Manager of Kish Free Zone Organization, Mr. Mehdi Keshavarz informed that Iran is trying to exclude the word “solitary season” from Kish tourism literature by using new tools of marketing and tourism advertising. He further said that the development of tourism infrastructure could be materialized through facilitating the investment of private sector stakeholders. Mr. Keshavarz also conveyed the local authorities intention to start flight operations between Kish and the capitals of various countries, including the ECO Member States, the Persian Gulf region and Asian countries in order to develop relations, as well as to sign and implement sister city agreements with other tourism destinations. He underscored that strengthening of scientific tourism and the establishment of branches of the national and international universities in the Island will transform Kish into a regional scientific and research center. He added that the development of the brand of Kish Island and the title of a top tourist destination based on the concept of halal tourism among target countries, especially Muslim countries, is one of the organization's priorities. Kish Island, benefiting from its natural beauty and attractions, has established its position as a top tourist destination and a pilot for holding prestigious national and international events and exhibitions.