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    Iran seeks tourism millions as nuclear chill ends - Daily Mail

    Iran - Iran seeks tourism millions as nuclear chill ends - Daily Mail

    Overview:

    Iran seeks tourism millions as nuclear chill ends - Daily Mail
    By AFP
    Publish Date: 10 February 2016

    Long seen as a destination strewn with shortcomings, Iran is making a fresh pitch for
    tourists, with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to
    cash in.
    The tourism industry has been overlooked by successive governments in Tehran but
    the deal Iran struck with world powers over its nuclear programme last summer
    could change that.
    Along with nine companions including Americans and Germans, China-based
    Frenchman Yannick Lequelenec said he aims to make "one unique journey" every
    year. For 2016, he chose Iran.

    "My family told me I was crazy, but people have been welcoming and very friendly,"
    he said in Tehran of his one-week trip taken over the Chinese New Year holidays.
    Tourists, and the healthy revenues they could generate, are among the huge economic changes stemming from the nuclear deal.
    Ski resorts, UNESCO-listed world heritage sites and deserts combine with cities steeped in Middle Eastern grandeur and tradition.

    A tourism push was launched after President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013, ending the hardline era of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during which Iran's international isolation deepened.

    Entry procedures have been simplified, meaning visitors from only 11 countries are not eligible for a visa on arrival.

    The United States, Britain, Canada and France top the exclusion list but some people will not be put off by the restrictions.

    - Skiing and ancient cities -

    "The first thing we did was to go skiing in Tochal," said Rachel Punter, a 41-year-oldBritish teacher based in Shanghai who was among Lequelenec's group.

    The ski resort is one of several close to the capital. That outing was followed by trips to Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd, cities considered much more beautiful and relaxed than Tehran.

    Among the popular sites in Isfahan is Imam Square, second in size only to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but with water fountains and impressive architecture the Iranian site is much more attractive.

    For Rouhani, tourism offers a way to offset falling oil prices that have slashed government income. The goal is 20 million tourists annually by 2025 which would provide $30 billion a year, a  fivefold increase in current revenues from foreign visitors.

    It comes as tourists shun many parts of the Middle East because of war and a recent wave of jihadist attacks in countries including Egypt and Tunisia. International credit and debit cards still do not work in Iran, but arriving with foreign currency and converting it into a large bundle of local rial notes does not seem a handicap.

    There have been 4.16 million visitors in the _irst nine months of the Iranian year, which started in March 2015, up _ive percent from a year earlier, according to the tourism ministry.

    Two thirds of them come from neighbouring countries, such as Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Afghanistan or Pakistan, predominantly religious pilgrims visiting the holy Shiite cities of Mashhad, northeast of Tehran, and Qom, south of the capital.

    Western tourists currently number only five percent but the trend is upward, according to Ebrahim Pourfaraj, head of Pasargad Tour Agency and president of the Association of Iranian Tour Operators.

    "For tourists, the sense of security and peace is very important. The nuclear deal and the trips of President Hassan Rouhani to Italy and France have reinforced this phenomenon," he said.

    - Facilities still sparse -

    Those visits underlined Iran's acceptance and willingness to trade with Europe after the nuclear deal. But after decades of inadequate investment, facilities and capacity are sparse. Of the country's 1,100 hotels, only 130 are four or Five star -- 400 more would be needed to accommodate 20 million tourists annually.

    Abridged From: Daily Mail

     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3441723/Iran-seeks-tourism-millions-nuclear-chill-ends.html

    Clips

    Ski resorts

    A tourism push was launched after President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013 ©Atta Kenare (AFP) - Un Told Persia


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    The word Persia gives the image of a magical and mysterious land of far away and long ago, of ancient monuments and beautiful works of art – carpets, tiles, fine ceramics and miniatures. It also reminds us of legendary and tragic love stories and epic poems about great wars. And Persia is indeed a world ancient and contemporary, a bridge between heaven and earth. We want to show you around. Discover things to do on your next trip to Iran and plan a trip of your lifetime. Yes, it is that easy! This website gives you the tools to plan your trip to Iran: detailed information on destinations; inspiring ideas on what to see and do in each city; where to stay; where to eat; travel guides and let’s say everything you need so you can dream up a trip to Iran.

    Patrimonito

    This workshop is designed according to the UNESCO World Heritage Education Programme in order to give young people a chance to voice their concerns and to become involved in the protection of our common cultural and natural heritage. It seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our World Heritage. The idea of involving young people in World Heritage preservation and promotion came as a response to Article 27 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention). Furthermore, Patrimonito means 'small heritage' in Spanish and the character represents a young heritage guardian. Patrimonito has been widely adopted as the international mascot of the World Heritage Education Programme.
    Date: 29th December
    Number of trainees: 7
    Duration: 3 hours

    The workshop of "Patrimonito" was held on 29th of December. Participants arrived around 10:30 and they were welcomed by hot chocolate and Persian cup cakes. After a little introduction by trainers and trainees, the process started by making two groups and letting them choose a name for their group, each group was accompanied by a mentor then each group was given some images of world heritage sites in Iran and some descriptions, each group was asked to match images and descriptions, the mentor was guiding them throughout the activity. All trainees were participating actively and trying to remember their experiences about their travels to these places. When they were done with the activity, the mentors started giving the answers and a brief explanation about each site; mentors were using trainees’ ideas and experiences to complete their tasks.

    Shortly after that, the second part started which was a presentation done by two of mentors. The aim of this presentation was to define the value of these world heritage sites and duties of each person as a "Patrimonito", and what happens if there is no "Patrimonito" and nobody cares about our tangible or intangible heritage. In this part trainees started questioning and understanding the whole concept of being a "Patrimonito", they also added their own suggestions on how to protect our heritage and by the end of this part, they were completely aware about their role as a "Patrimonito".
    Now it was a best time to have a short break, during the break trainees were introduced to some of intangible heritages as they were served by traditional food and snacks and even they way of serving was according to traditions and everyone had this opportunity to discuss about intangible heritage while enjoying some traditional food and snacks.
    When the break was done, everyone was asked to choose a heritage either tangible or intangible and they had to introduce their chosen heritage to a tourist by making a postcard using what they have learnt. They were given all of necessary tools such as color papers, color pencils, glue, scissors, images of heritage and a mentor was with them in order to help them completing the task.

    When they were done, they handed out their postcards and with the mentors they sat together and spent a few minutes asking and answering about what they have learnt. Then they were told to say their vows for protecting their heritage and caring about it, the mentor said the vow and the trainees repeated after her and they officially became a "Patrimonito".

    The last but the best part was when they were given the certificates, and they were told that since they are aware of the value of the heritage and they know how to protect it, they are chosen as "Patrimonito" and they should continue their mission by introducing the value of heritage to others. They were granted certificates and labels and the workshop of "Patrimonito" was finished by taking some memorial photos.