46 members of the Spanish Federation of Journalists and Writers of Tourism (FEPET), who had travelled to Iran in early December for the 19th FEPET congress, described the moment they left the country as the saddest moment of their visit.
During their stay in the country, they visited Shiraz, Yazd, Isfahan, Tehran and Matinabad desert camp.
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“Twenty years ago, the head of the FEPET, Mariano Palacin, paid a 10 to 12-day visit to Iran along with one of his colleagues. During the visit, they developed a great interest in Iran and decided to hold a special meeting on Iran in the annual gathering of the federation in our country. But unfortunately, the meeting was delayed for 20 years due to various reasons,” Mohammad Ali Ashraf Vaqefi, the Director General of the travel agency which prepared the visit told ISNA.
However, he added, about three months ago, I received an email from Palacin who raised the idea once again and we welcomed it.
He said organizing such an event with the attendance of Spanish writers and journalists could contribute to our tourism industry. “So, I shared the idea with the deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran and he promised us to do whatever in his power to help us in this area.”
Promising Future of Iran Tourism Industry
Elaborating on the recent visit of the Spanish writers and journalists to Iran, Palacin said, “We spent seven days in the nice and lovely country of Iran and the moment of our departure was the saddest moment of our visit.”
He went on to say that the group spent a good week in Iran. “We held various meetings with tourism officials in Fars, Yazd, Isfahan and Tehran provinces. We found Iran a unique country full of kindness and love. Nice people of Iran gave us some wonderful moments during our visit.”
According to him, what is interesting for a writer or journalist during a visit is the hospitality of their host country. “Iranian people always have a broad smile on their faces and they hosted us with their heart and soul. That’s why we predict a promising future for Iran’s tourism.”
He admired Iran tourism officials and tour operators’ attempts to improve the travel and tourism industry in the country against sanctions imposed by the USA. To decrease the sanctions effects, Iran announced it will welcome foreign tourists with no need to stamp their passports.
Palacin believes this could be a giant step forward to encourage international tourists to travel to Iran without any anxiety. He said Iran has experienced positive social changes comparing to his last visit of Iran twenty years ago and he appreciated Iran’s tourism officials’ enthusiasm for the promotion of Iran’s tourism and infrastructures. He believed Naqsh-e Jahan could be a proper brand for Iran’s tourism industry. He said, “I have visited 99 countries, and Naqsh-e Jahan Sq. is one of the most beautiful large squares of the world.”
The Spanish Federation of Journalists and Writers of Tourism (FEPET) had earlier held some special meetings in Cuba, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, Jordan, Malaysia, Honduras, Morocco, Indonesia, Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Paraguay, Turkey, Peru and Mexico. It is also expected to hold a meeting next year in Cameroon and another one in 2020 in Ecuador.
Spain annually attracts over 80 million tourists, and has a great rank in the world in this industry.
Iran Tourism Promotion
According to Vaqefi, the Spanish writers and journalists are set to publish their experiences in Iran in the mainstream media in Spain.
Palacin who is in charge of a leading magazine in tourism industry, Fitur, with a great influence in the Latin-speaking countries has promised to dedicate 14 pages of the upcoming edition of the magazine to Iran and its tourist attractions.
In Spain, writers and journalists are usually involved in tourism-related areas. They are mostly among leading figures in their country with great influence in the Spanish society.
Among those who visited Iran there were some chain hotel owners or people involved in transportation and food sectors.