Western Iranian city of Hamedan is hosting the
40th UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Affiliate Members Plenary Session which began on Monday and will end on Wednesday.
Hosting the world's biggest tourism event in 2018 in the Iranian city has helped Hamedan, as the capital of the Iranian history and civilization, to become the flag-bearer of the country's tourism in the world, IRNA reported.
The year 2018 marked a turning point in the history of Iran's tourism as Hamedan was selected as Asia's tourism capital.
At present, the city's enormous tourism capacities has helped it to host the 40th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session which is being held in Iran for the first time.
The decision was made by the UNWTO last year.
The event comprises four sections: Senior experts' meeting, educational workshops, technical tours and the International Seminar on Harnessing Cultural Tourism through Innovation and Technology.
Commenting on the session, Hamidreza Yari, a member of the UNWTO's Board of Directors, said 80 UNWTO members from 30 countries have traveled to Hamedan to take part in the event.
He added that UNWTO's Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili and Head of Iran's Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Ali Asghar Mounesan are also in Hamedan.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the first day of the session, Pololikashvili said developing rural tourism prepares the ground for gaining new experiences of cultures of different ethnic groups and tribes and is among the main priorities of UNWTO.
This can prepare the ground for gaining more knowledge about traditional houses, cultures and cuisines and, above all, creating jobs, he added.
UNWTO secretary general noted that presenting regional and rural tourist attractions to the other people from other countries is of great importance for any state, adding creating tourist villages helps support those individuals and households that are living in areas far from their hometowns.
This, he said, will also help control unrestrained migrations from rural areas to cities.
In a meeting with Hamedan Province's Governor General Mohammad-Naser Nikbakht on the same day, Pololikashvili lauded and appreciated measures by the Iranian government and Parliament to stimulate the tourism industry.
"Iran has high capacities in tourism industry and 16 out of 557 UNWTO's affiliate members are from Iran," he added.
Cheap, but effective tool
Addressing the UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session, Mounesan said today, all countries have realized that tourism is the best mechanism for promoting sustainable development at minimal costs.
He added that at present, tourism is an important dynamic industry in the world.
Mounesan said today, developing countries are constantly seeking to increase their income, enhance constructive interactions with the world and use their economic and social resources and capacities to develop their tourism industries to achieve the sustainable development goals.
Commenting on the session, he noted that holding such an international meeting in Iran is an effective step toward presenting Iran's capacities to the world in the face of the US Iranophobic moves and measures.
Being home to close to 1,800 tourist attractions, Hamedan is one of the five important tourist destinations in Iran.
The UNWTO has decided to grant the first-ever international certificate of tourism to Iranian Alisadr Tourism Company located in Hamedan.
Based in Madrid, Spain, UNWTO is a subsidiary of the UN whose activities are mainly focused on policymaking in tourism industry.
It is currently the most renowned organization in the world active in the field of travel and tourism.