'Isfahan is brimming with potential to become the tourist capital of the ECO region, and it could be exploited as an opportunity to develop cultural relations in this region which is the cradle of an ancient civilization.' said the ECI President on Wednesday, August 26, 2020, addressing the officials and tourism and handicrafts workers of Isfahan province.
According to the ECO Cultural Institute, quoting from IRNA, during the meeting, held in the Chehel Sotoun Garden Museum, Sarvar Bakhti added: 'Isfahan is one of the most spectacular cities in the world with high potentials and many tourist attractions, which leaves a lasting memory with the visitors of the city.
He also proposed that arts and crafts exhibitions and supply stores of the ten ECO member countries could be launched in Isfahan, and said: 'This would be an opportunity for more cultural interactions between ECO countries and increase their income, especially in the private sector.'
Noting that Tajikistan is fully prepared to establish tourism ties and joint activities with Isfahan for further encouragement of the other ECO countries, Bakhti declared: "Isfahan enjoys tremendous potential in the field of health tourism, which can be used to develop the industry in Interaction with the ECO member countries.'
Adding that the people of Tajikistan are very interested in traveling to the city of Isfahan, he said: "Tajiks consider themselves part of this culture and if facilities were available, they could have many trips to Iran and Isfahan."
Stating that Iranian hospitals are well-known in countries such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, he said: "If we take strong steps in joint cooperation [in this regard], it will be beneficial to all ECO member countries."
Bakhti further elaborated that the first step in establishing such cooperation is to dispatch a delegation from Isfahan's tourism, handicrafts and investment sector to Tajikistan and the cities of Dushanbe and Khujand to identify areas of joint cooperation.
Noting that the outbreak of Corona has affected the tourism industry in all countries, he said: "Tajikistan and other ECO member states are working to attract tourists to their countries by observing health protocols," he said,
Director General, Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism of Isfahan Province, highlighted the common history, cultural and religious background of the people of the ECO member countries and said: "Despite these considerable potentials, such commonalities are not well recognized
Stressing that the relations between the cultural authorities of these countries are not as it deserves to be, Fereydoun Allah Yari, added: 'ECO member countries were located in a large civilization area and have many common historical attractions; cities like Isfahan, Bukhara, Samarkand and Herat have left historical memories, but these opportunities and potentials have remained untapped.'
He pointed out that Isfahan's tourism is largely based on the city's cultural attractions and the 10 countries with the most travelers to Isfahan are European, however, in recent years Iraq and China have been added to them, most of tourists are interested in history and culture and some in the scenery of the city .'
Speaking of the steps taken in the past three years to develop tourism ties with the East and Central Asian countries, Allah Yari said: "To develop tourism ties among ECO member countries, it is essential to establish committees on investment, tourism, handicrafts and arts and the relevant mandates be determined.
Seyed Hassan Ghazi Asgar, Deputy Governor of Isfahan for Coordination of Economic Affairs, announced Isfahan's readiness to develop tourism ties with the ECO member countries and stressed that: " The related committees need to be formed by November this year to pursue issues such as sisterhood with historic cities and the establishment of a permanent handicraft exhibition.'
It is worth mentioning that the two-day visit of the ECI President to Isfahan, which was warmly welcomed by the officials and artists of this historic city, has raised hope for the realization of a new chapter in comprehensive tourism cooperation between Isfahan and the ECO member countries.