About 7.8 million tourists traveled to Iran during the last Iranian year, ended on March 20, 2019, to register a 52.5 percent growth compared with last year’s corresponding period which was 5.1 million tourists, said the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization.
Vali Teimouri made the statement at the fifth ECO-Silk Road Food Festival in Zanjan, adding that these foreign tourists usually come from neighboring countries, European countries and even American countries.
During the same period, almost seven million Iranians traveled overseas which saw a decreasing trend compared with its preceding year, he said.
The cultural official said, the ECO festival in Zanjan is important because of attracting both domestic and international tourists. Ambassadors of 19 countries including Greece, Austria, Croatia and Kazakhstan are currently in Zanjan to take part in the Fifth ECO-Silk Road Food Festival.
Teimouri said that these festivals are excellent opportunities to become familiar with tourism potentials, cultural diversity and the history of different cities.
“Zanjan is a tourism hub in the country as it houses the world’s biggest adobe dome, the Soltaniyeh, and the longest historic market in the country, as well as the most wonderful limestone cave in the Middle East,” Zajan Governor General Fat’hollah Haqiqi said. The province is fully prepared to have interaction with the countries, the official said.
Referring to the 40-year US enmity with Iran, Haqiqi said that in the course of its 242-year history, it has experienced peace for only 16 years and was engaged in wars in other years to subjugate others.
Greek Ambassador to Tehran Dimitri Alexandrakis said during the meeting that Iran had a rich and strong population for the economy sector.
“Greece and Zanjan can have close cooperation in tourism,” he said.
Unlike the other European states, Greece does not accept sanctions and will continue economic and trade exchanges with Iran, the envoy said. Austrian envoy Stefan Scholz said that there are numerous similarities between Iran and Austria.
He further pointed out that Zanjan Province had a suitable location, and he referred to the Silk Road, as a major connective road between Iran, Asia and Europe, has linked the province with Turkey. Croatian Ambassador to Iran Drago Stambuk, for his part, said that Iran and Croatia boast of a similar culture “as some of our names are the same as those of ancient Iran.”
He reiterated that as a European independent country, Croatia opposes sanctions against Iran.
“Zanjan and Croatia can have cooperation in sports and agriculture spheres,” he said. Kazakh envoy Askhat Orazbai said, “We need Iranian decorative stones in construction and we can have cooperation in the field.”
The two countries have favorable trade exchanges but they have potentials to further increase them, he said.