Prof. Sarvar Bakhti, President of ECO Cultural Institute, traveled to Sari, the provincial capital of Mazandaran Province and during his 2-day visit met with the Governor, Representative of the Iranian Supreme Leader in the city and the Mayor of Sari. In all the meetings, ECI President emphasized on expanding joint cooperation to make the best use of the existing opportunity for promotion of Sari as the ECO Tourism Capital in 2022.
According to the ECO Cultural Institute, over the 2-day trip on 3-4 November 2021, made at the invitation of the Mayor of Sari, ECI President first met with Governor Hossein Zadegan and Talebi, the mayor of Sari. While appreciating the invitation and hospitality of the esteemed officials of the province, Bakhti said: "The most important purpose of the trip is that Sari tourism would be promoted as a symbol of tourism in the region."
Sarvar Bakhti also considered Sari 2022 event as the best opportunity for joint cooperation between Iran and ECO countries and added: using this opportunity, the excellent capacities of Mazandaran province and Sari city should be introduced to the ECO countries and the world.
Stating that the features of Mazandaran are well expressed in the poems and stories of Shahnameh, ECI President said: "With effective cooperation, operative steps can be taken to introduce the tourism and historical capacities of this historical province."
Hosseinzadegan, the Governor of Mazandaran, welcomed ECI President and said that the unique attractions of the capital of Mazandaran have been neglected for many years.
“Sari city has a long cultural history dating back to more than three thousand years ago.” The Governor added.
Emphasizing that a broader view should be adopted towards Mazandaran and only symbolic programs about its introduction are not enough, he added: "All cities of Mazandaran have unique features in various fields, including environmental blessings, which are the advantage of this province. Such advantage makes this province distinguished among other provinces of the country.” The governor of Mazandaran also considered Sari 2022 event as the best opportunity to introduce the province's capacities to ECO countries and even beyond.
Hosseinzadegan referred to the University of Mazandaran, Sari University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Wood Industries Company, Maritime Tourism, Agricultural Tourism and Religious Tourism as important capacities that can be of common interest for Mazandaran and ECO countries.
According to the ECO Cultural Institute, Sarvar Bakhti in his second meeting, visited the Mayor of Sari, Javad Talebi in the presence of members of the Islamic City Council of Sari, Mahforozi, secretary of the Sari 2022 event and deputy mayors on Wednesday, November 3, 2021. Bakhti referred to Sari as the city of friendship and brotherhood and said: Sari has historical, cultural, natural and tourism potentials that should be introduced to the world.
Referring to the selection of Sari as the ECO tourism capital, he said: "We are trying to mark this important event by holding joint programs."
ECI President described Sari, a city with a history of 3,000 years old and enjoying valuable traditions, customs and history and added: "This event can be an opportunity for joint cultural cooperation of the 10 ECO member countries."
The mayor of Sari also expressed his satisfaction with the visit of Prof. Sarvar Bakhti, ECI President to the capital of Mazandaran province and said: Sari Municipality, as the executive arm of the governorate, which is the main organizer of this event, is making efforts to introduce the capacities of this historical ancient city to ECO countries and even the world in this important event.
He announced the establishment of the Secretariat of the Creative City Tourism Committee in Sari Municipality and emphasized: "We are trying to figure out the best things to do next year to take advantage of this hosting."
Parviz Shabani, Chairperson of the Islamic City Council of Sari, welcomed ECI President and said: "Sari, with the diversity of climate and enjoying sea and forest, is full of local customs and rituals that can be represented at Sari 2022 event".
Seyed Hossein Yousefi, a member of the Islamic City Council of Sari and the head of the cultural commission of the council, also said: Sari 2022 event with a cultural perspective causes unity and cohesion among ECO member countries; using this opportunity, social values, traditions, customs and even the scientific and academic capacities of 10 member countries can be shared."
According to the same report, Ayatollah Mohammad Bagher Mohammadi Laini, Representative of the Supreme Leader in Mazandaran, also met with Sarvar Bakhti, along with members of the Islamic City Council and Javad Talebi, Mayor of Sari, on Thursday, November 4. 2021 and said: the economic potential, cultural and social diversity and tourism capacities in the ECO region are remarkable.
He considered it necessary to realize the envisaged goals and pointed to the many cultural commonalities of these 10 countries in different sectors, which are noteworthy. He stressed that centralized, comprehensive programs should be defined based on such commonalties.
The representative of the Supreme Leader in Mazandaran also said that cultural interactions in this important event should be seen as a special opportunity: "The transcendent culture elevates the society and it is very important to pay attention to this issue;" “These countries should pay very serious attention to cultural interactions in order to achieve an acceptable record.” He added.
He considered the interaction and cooperation of different agencies in holding this event important and necessary, and stressed that the officials should take the ECO tourism event seriously.
Ayatollah Laini pointed out that the necessary infrastructure for this event must be provided.
Sarvar Bakhti, also pointed to the excellent hospitality of the people of Mazandaran and said: Since arrival in Sari yesterday, I have felt the unique culture and hospitality of the people of this city." He added: "Turning ECO tourism into a symbol of tourism in the region will not only be the best way for the nations of the region to reunite, but will also ensure the inclusive growth of the cultural economy in all ECO member countries."
ECI President explained that: "Every year, a city of the ECO countries is selected as the tourism capital of, and choosing the city of Sari for ECO tourism is an honor for all of Iran."
Bakhti continued: in order to hold this event in the best possible way, the cooperation of all the related organizations is necessary, but it is obvious that introducing this city to ECO countries and even beyond is a great honor for Iran.
Later at the meeting, Seyed Hossein Yousefi, chairperson of the Cultural Committee of the Islamic City Council of Sari, said: "The 2022 event is the best opportunity to introduce Mazandaran to ECO member countries and other countries in the world, and this opportunity should be used well."
He added: "The ancient city of Sari, with a unique culture and history, has been not given special attention before, but in this opportunity, the history and culture of this historical city can be introduced to the world."
The head of the Cultural Committee of the Islamic City Council of Sari informed that a Secretariat in Sari Municipality has been established for the ECO Tourism, calling this an important step to prepare for the ECO tourism event.
Yousefi said that the success of this event requires the cooperation of all agencies and said: although the municipality of Sari is responsible for hosting this event, but the cooperation of other agencies in this event is essential.
It is worth mentioning that during the two-day visit of ECI President, in addition to signing a MoU with Sari Municipality focusing on ECO 2022 tourism capital, the book Tajikistan Diar Ashna was launched in the presence of Prof. Bakhti.