Financial Tribune – Iranian officials have focused on attracting Turkish potentials and investments for developing the domestic tourism industry.
In the recent Islamic Republic of Iran Solo Exhibition in Istanbul (Oct. 25-28), Iran Tourism Development Corporation encouraged Turkish investors to put their money in Iran’s tourism projects.
Speaking to Asr-e Namayeshgah news website, Mehdi Diani, director general of ITDC, said their talks with Turkish players in the field were fruitful and they are interested in investing in Iran’s tourism.
“We can draw greatly on the experiences of Turkey in attracting tourists and earn revenue from the sector by following their footsteps,” he said.
This neighboring country boasts one of the highly flourishing tourism sectors in the region and can be a model for Iran.
Simultaneously in Tehran, the tourism deputy of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization met with Turkish Ambassador to Iran Reza Hakan Tekin late last week to discuss ties.
During the meeting, Mohammad Moheb-Khodaei stressed that one of the most prospective fields of bilateral cooperation is in marine tourism.
“The Persian Gulf and Caspian coasts have high capacities for tourism development and Turkish investors are welcome to launch projects in Iran’s northern and southern shores,” he was quoted as saying by Miras-e Arya news website.
Turkey’s ambassador, who is scheduled to visit Kish Island next week, welcomed the idea and called for more information about investment capacities of the Persian Gulf Island.
“There is sufficient reason to be optimistic about future collaborations with Iran,” he said.
Moheb-Khodaei also pointed to the potentials of Turkey in promoting Iran’s attractions worldwide.
“We are seeking to introduce and advertise the attractions of Tabriz, Yazd, Hamedan and Kerman in Turkish Airlines’ flights,” he said.
Last week, Ali Asghar Mounesan, the ICHHTO chief, held talks with Turkish officials during his trip to the neighboring country where he met with Turkey’s minister for culture and tourism, and proposed joint projects.
He underscored the importance of balancing tourist exchange between the two countries.
Only 400,000 Turkish tourists travel to Iran annually while the number of Iranians visiting the Mediterranean country tops 1.5 million.
Mounesan called on Turkish tour operators to include Iran in their packages.
“Turkey can also direct its inbound tourists toward Iran by organizing combined tours,” he said.
Each year in December, a ceremony is held in the Turkish city of Konya to commemorate Molana (aka Rumi), the Persian poet and Sufi.
Mounesan proposed that a similar ceremony be held for Shams (Iranian Muslim mystic credited to be the spiritual instructor of Rumi) in the city of Khoy, his resting place in Iran, so as to have travelers visit both countries.
The Turkish side has shown interest in sending more Turkish tourists to Iran.
Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Numan Kurtulmus said they will bring together the private and public sectors of the two countries to realize this goal.
Kurtulmus called for increasing air flights to balance tourist exchange between the two countries.
A group of Turkish investors and tour operators is to travel to Iran in January 2018 to discuss cooperation in the sector including projects for the construction of 10 hotels.