Tabriz 2018 needs the cooperation of the public and artists’ society to produce the desired results
Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization held a conference attended by artists and cultural activists late last week to discuss plans for the northwestern city Tabriz that had been selected by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018.
Zahra Ahmadipour, the head of ICHHTO, stressed that the public must be involved in the event, ILNA reported.
“Laying the responsibility solely on the government will not help the event; it has to become a national event to produce the desired results,” she said.
She stressed that the event is a great opportunity to introduce Iran as a unique tourism destination and the cooperation of artists is crucial since they have great influence on the public and can help change the world’s distorted image of the country.
Ahmadipour noted that while tourism requires much smaller investment to earn revenues than other industries, Iran has failed to reap its benefits.
“Tabriz 2018 can pave the way for generating sustainable income from tourism,” she said.
Ministry Takes the Lead
Having been in charge of ICHHTO for three years, Sports and Youth Minister Masoud Soltanifar is among the first top-ranking officials to take steps to contribute to the event.
He held a meeting with Governor General of East Azarbaijan Province Esmaeil Jabbarzadeh last week, along with the heads of sport federations to make proposals.
Soltanifar expressed the ministry’s readiness to hold major sport events in Tabriz in 2018.
“Tabriz can host one or two important sport events every month,” he was quoted as saying by YJC.
The ministry is also considering printing the logo of Tabriz 2018 on footballers’ shirts for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
A memorandum of understanding has been signed to hold the Takhti Cup International Wrestling Tournament in Tabriz.
Mirhadi Qare Seyyed-Roumiani, the newly appointed head of Tourism Department at ICHHTO, said all tourism events are set to be organized in Tabriz in 2018.
“Even the International Tourism Exhibition, which is hosted by Tehran every year, will be held in Tabriz for the first time,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
On December 23, 2015, the final day of the three-day 9th Islamic Conference of Tourism Ministers in Niamey, Niger, OIC ministers of tourism approved the selection of Tabriz as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018.
The capital of the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Tabriz predates the Islamic conquest of Persia. It served as the capital city of a number of dynasties following the conquest.
Tabriz hosts a number of famed religious sites, including Jame’ Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and it boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tabriz Bazaar.
In September, Tabriz was declared a World Craft City by the World Craft Council, which, along with Isfahan, makes it one of Iran’s only two cities to boast the title.