The World Tourism Day ceremony was held at Milad Tower’s International Convention Centre with the presence of government officials and private sector activists in the field of tourism.

As reported by the Public Relations and International Affairs Department of Iran’s Tourism Financial Group, in this occasion, Mehdi Jahangiri, CEO and Chairman of Iran’s Tourism Financial Group and Vice President of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, stated: In order to pass the current economic climate, there is no choice but to adopt a comprehensive strategy with an appropriate model in the tourism industry.

He added: “After the recent development in the Iranian government’s foreign policy discourse, Iran’s relations with the global community have been positively affected, as is evident in the tourism industry. With the Government’s efforts in the international political environment, the tourism industry as a subtle industry affected by political fluctuations has taken its path toward growth and development”.

Jahangiri noted: “We must recognize that the tourism industry can reach dynamism and success in the hands of the private sector. We need to consider the intentions of the Supreme Leader as a way out of government-based economy. Today, 37 years after the glorious victory of the Islamic Revolution, 85% of our economy is still managed by the government. This situation, besides oil price fluctuations in the world market, has caused troubles for our economy”.

CEO of Iran’s Tourism Financial Group, said: “Naturally, if we had moved to the private sector, we wouldn’t have witnessed these events. We have no choice but to accept that the private sector is the leader of the country’s economy. Support for the private sector, rather than in practice, has been mainly in the form of words and promises. I wish that tourism officials would hear the voice of the private sector, the demanding voice of the private sector, which must become the flagship of the country’s economic development”.

Referring to the problems of the private sector, this private sector activist said: “We expect that the Government of Prudence and Hope, with the Islamic Republic’s experience of 40 years of management, prepares the ground for dealing with the paradox of government-based NGOs (!). Government authorities must recognize this phenomenon as a threat. In addition, Iran’s private sector must be a demanding force against the government for the country’s economic development”.

According to Jahangiri, today the tourism industry is the only industry that can both solve employment problems and create peace and stability in the society. As activists in the private sector, we expect the movement to establish a national tourism movement in the country.

He added: “We expect that all elements of the system become integrated in the field of tourism development so that we can minimize the threats in this transitional stage. Certainly this is a legitimate expectation from the government. The eleventh government of Iran can make this it operational and push the private sector to reach the position it deserves”.

Vice President of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce pointed to the role of Tehran Chamber of Commerce in the tourism industry and averred: “By activating the Tourism Commission with the participation of private sector and government representatives, we have reached a consensus in Iran and Tehran Chambers of Commerce so that we can pursue our demands from the government in this field. If our economy is to reach a five percent economic growth in the field of infrastructure, there is a huge gap between the current and the desired situation”.

Emphasizing that we should have a strategy in this area, Jahangiri continued: “Now, tourism activists at the international level seek negotiation and cooperation with the private sector and do not depend on the public sector anymore. If we do not create an incentive for the private sector to develop the tourism industry, it will get stuck in everydayness. We expect that the government pursues and accomplishes the idea of an export award plan for activists in the tourism sector. Even under the present conditions and without any support, the tourism industry has achieved a foreign income of about $10 billion whereas Iran’s current total annual oil revenue is $20 billion”.

He continued: “With this approach, the national tourism movement can certainly find its true place. With all the positive steps taken and considering a proper security factor in the country, we expect that travelling without a visa becomes possible. Part of President Rouhani’s promise about the regained credibility of Iranian passports has been achieved. However, it is expected that the same thing happen about travelling between tourism target markets without a visa”.

Referring to the negative propaganda against Iran, CEO of Iran’s Tourism Financial Group said: “The world has spent a lot for negative propaganda against Iran. But we need to see what credit we have dedicated to introducing ourselves as we are. The government has made tremendous efforts in changing the foreign policy discourse but now it has to support the private sector for recognition at international levels. Of course, the private sector too must try to localize modern technology in line with economic resistance as stipulated by the Supreme Leader of Iran. Today we have no choice but to achieve modern technology and management practices to enter the tourism industry in global markets. Otherwise, the goal we are seeking to realize will be possible only over a long period of time.

It is noteworthy that Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, Vice President and Head of the Management and Planning Organization; Massood Soltanifar, Vice President and Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization; Ali Rabiee, Minister of Cooperatives Labor and Social Welfare; Abbas Akhundi, Minister of Roads and Urban Development; and Ayatollah Majead Ansari, Vice President for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs were present in the ceremony.