The World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA) had certified Iran’s hosting of the WFTGA Convention in 2017. It is due that 800 Iranian and foreign tourist guides to attend the 17th WFTGA convention in Tehran, according to the head of Iran’s Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (IFTGA), Arash Nour-Aqaei.
The WFTGA convention is a biannual gathering of tourist guides from across the world. Iran was voted to host the event by last year in Czech Republic. The event is scheduled for January 28-February 1, 2017. This is the first time that Iran has bid to host the convention.
“Preparations for the event is already began,” Nour-Aqaei said, adding that 300 foreign and 500 Iranian tourist guides will be participating in the event. A meeting was held in Tehran on June 29, 2016 for the WFTGA convention preparation. The meeting, which focused on the functions of member-volunteers, was attended by over 60 Iranian Tourist Guides. Four committees were formed to deal with design, marketing, translation and social media. About 250 people from various tourism groups and institutions are collaborating to organize the event.
Nour-Aqaei said a number of countries were completely against Iran hosting the event. “We have started a campaign to promote Iran and the meeting to encourage more members to attend the convention,” he said.
Ruby Roy, Vice President of WFTGA and Ivana Curuvija, the WFTGA’s Head of Training, have travelled to Iran to assess the facilities for holding the convention. The warm hospitality of Iranians and great teamwork of members of the IFTGA and volunteers are some of Iran’s capacities for hosting the convention, Roy said. The officials also mentioned many WFTGA members have never been to Iran and noted that the event presents a great opportunity for Iranians to showcase the country’s tourism potential to tour guides from across the world.
According to the convention website: “This will be the first time in Iran for many, to finally see well-known treasures in reality, to learn about one of the oldest cultures too secluded these past decades! It will mean to all of us astonishment, breaking down walls and prejudices; it will hopefully bring peace to a territory as tourism should, a country so important for all our early cultural development. It will truly mean: experience another culture with all five senses.”
“The convention was introduced at Iran’s stands in different tourism exhibitions in the world in 2016,” IFTGA member Mohsen Haji-Saied said during the event. “We also plan to visit the tourist guide association of the participant countries in the coming year. “We aim to introduce seven Iranian cities during the tours to participants in the convention,” he added.
“The event provides a perfect opportunity for domestic and international tour guides to meet and greet,” said Nour-Aqaei. Prior to the convention, attendees travel to the provinces of Alborz, Qazvin and Hamedan. The pre-tour involves visits to the largest brick dome in the world and the tomb of legendary Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai. After the event, those in attendance will visit Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd and Kashan. During the event, WFTGA members will elect the new board of directors and the host of the 18th convention. Also, on the side of event, several workshops will be held.
According to the deputy director for tourism affairs at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization, Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed: “Iran plans to strengthen tourism industry by boosting international relations.” He named “hospitality” and “energetic people” as some of the main strong points of Iran as a tourism destination.
Holding an international event and presence of respected board of directors of World Federation of Tourist Guides Association, (WFTGA) and also tourist guides from different countries, it is a great honor for Iran to host the one of the most important world tourism international event due to the credibility of tourism in the country. It will open the doors of trust and relationships toward the world.