President of the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies (CEAV) has said that his country will stand beside Iran to help flourish tourism as the Islamic Republic is planning to expand tourism for reducing dependence on petrodollars step by step.
“I hope that travel agencies with [exercising] power and passion could overcome the [existing] problems. In this way, we are united with you and in line with the agreements signed [or are to be inked] between the two countries, we are ready to cooperate more and more to achieve mutual goals [in the arena of tourism],” Carlos Garrido added on Saturday.
Garrido, accompanied by a panel of experts and colleagues, made the remarks during a meeting with executives from the Touring and Automobile Club of Iran, which was held at the Laleh International Hotel in Tehran on Friday.
Commenting on the purpose of his trip to Iran, Garrido said that his was aimed to get to know Iranian [tourism-related] authorities, adding, “We are determined to seriously focus on new plans to reach tourism goals of our two countries.”
“Aside from all the political and security issues that exist, I, as a representative of the private sector of my country’s tourism, would like to have agreements between the private sectors on both sides because the Iranian market has enormous potential in this sector.”
He noted that the Spanish Confederation of Travel Agencies represents 7,000 tourist agencies and four tour operators.
All Spanish travel agencies operate under CEAV’s supervision and they will work [to help] boost tourism between the two countries, he added.
Iran’s tourism has experienced a decline since early January when a U.S. drone strike assassinated top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and in an act of retaliation, Iran fired missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq on January 8. The worse came to worst when a Ukrainian airliner was accidentally shot down by Iran’s air defense as it was on high alert in the tense aftermath.
Iran’s tourism minister on January 12 said that the country’s tourism industry has suffered a setback but it will certainly return to “normal”, in remarks referring to the tragic crash. Ali-Asghar Mounesan said, “These events are a major blow to tourism, but we will leave it behind by the means of new plans and we will definitely return to normal.”
Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.