The United Nations General Assembly declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, recalling the potential of tourism to advance the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Within that framework, the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) called for a consultative meeting to discuss what can be done in the Islamic Republic of Iran to mark the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
The meeting brought together a wide variety of tourism stakeholders ranging from Government representatives, NGOs, academia and the private sector.
Mr. Rahmani Movahed, Tourism Deputy of ICHHTO welcomed all participants to the meeting and then gave the floor to H.E. Dr. Ahmadipour, Vice-President and Head of ICHHTO.
Dr. Ahmadipour stressed the importance of sustainable tourism for development and called upon the participants to put forward high quality proposals, taking into consideration all relevant cultural, social and economic aspects.
Ms. Esther Kuisch Laroche, Director and Representative of the UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office spoke about UNESCO’s World Heritage and Sustainable Tourism Programme, which was developed in 2013 to facilitate the management and development of sustainable tourism at World Heritage Sites in order protect the properties and their Outstanding Universal Value, whilst also ensuring that tourism delivers benefits of sustainable development for local communities as well as a quality experience for visitors.
She then went on to talk about UNESCO’s ongoing cooperation with ICHHTO and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and UNESCO’s activities in Iran to bolster sustainable tourism, including capacity-building for World Heritage Site managers, strengthening museum management, protection and promotion of underwater cultural heritage, training of specialized tour guides, and supporting ICHHTO in the development of a National Strategy for Sustainable Tourism.
“As we have entered the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, let us use this unique opportunity to build a more responsible and committed tourism sector that can capitalize its immense potential in terms of economic prosperity, social inclusion, cultural and environmental preservation, and peace and understanding”, said Ms. Kuisch Laroche.
Other speakers included Dr. Eftekari who talked about the definition of sustainable tourism; Mr. Nouraghayi who spoke about the role of the private sector in achieving sustainable tourism, and Mr. Maghazehi who discussed the contribution of NGOs in tourism.
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