KARACHI: Speakers shed light on the tourism potential of Iran at the 2nd Conference of Picturesque Iran at a local hotel on Monday evening.

The moot was organised by the consulate general of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Karachi.

Iran’s Consul General in Karachi Hassan Nourian began his speech by congratulating the Pakistani nation and its government on its 75th Independence Day anniversary. He said Iran and Pakistan as the two neighbouring countries have many aspects in common, and enjoy a high level of diplomatic ties. They have historical and regional similarities, which can be utilised for deepening their ties.

The recent visit of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to Iran and [last week’s] joint economic commission in Islamabad are the examples of good relations between them, he said.

He said Iran is one of the advanced countries in the region in the field of public health. Iranian hospitals and medical centres are ready to provide all kinds of medical services to the people of neighbouring and Muslim countries.

Before Covid, 9m tourists had visited Iran every year, moot told

He added, “The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran has said that development of multidimensional relations with neighbouring countries is the top priority of his foreign policy. He has called those countries Iran’s relatives. In this regard, the tourism sector can play a positive role.”

Karachi Administrator Mutraza Wahab said Sindh is known for hospitality, as is Iran.

He said: “This partnership, which is beginning from today, will have very far-reaching positive impact on the relationship between the two countries and their respective economies. We will know more about your great country, you will be able to know about our great country, and the cultural heritage that our country has, the Sufi culture that the province of Sindh greatly exhibits all over the world.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity for the people of Pakistan and Iran to come together. Tourism provides that perfect platform. Thousands of people every year reach various cities of Iran for their religious obligations. And we have a number of Sufi saints who are buried in our country, so this Sufi tourism is a common point between both countries. This facility will make travelling a lot easier.”

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Tourism Ali Asqar Shalbafian said he’d like to appreciate the hard work from both sides to hold the meeting [conference]. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan together enjoy a homogenous culture, society and natural characteristic, shared values and norms. He’d like offer tourism potential which exist in the Iranian tourism sector for the great people of Pakistan. Iran enjoys miscellaneous tourist attractions such as cultural, historical and natural sites. “We welcome and are ready to hold tours for Pakistani tour operators, mass media correspondents, travel agencies and celebrities in order to introduce Iran’s tourism attractions.”

The event began with a detailed presentation on the country by Mr Shujai. He informed the audience, which largely comprised travel agents and tour operators, on the geography, topography and history of Iran. He said that before Covid-19 hit the world, Iran used to receive nine million tourists per year, which decreased after the pandemic. He also highlighted the 26 tangible heritage sites which are some of the major tourist attractions.

Sindh Tourism Secretary Naseemul Ghani said Iran was attracting Pakistani visitors and Pakistan, too, had a lot to offer for Iranian tourists.

Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2022

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