Protecting the environment as a resource to boost tourismSep 30, 2013
Water is the foundation of life and the United Nations has been long addressing the global crises facing this finite resource caused by population growth, pollution and the demands of agricultural and industrial uses among other factors.
27th September marked World Tourism Day. In Iran, the day was celebrated on 29th September at an event organized by the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. Its theme: “Tourism & Water: Protecting Our Common Future.”
A message was delivered on behalf of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Hassan Rouhani. In his statement, the president referred to the economic benefits which arise as a result of growth in the tourism industry. Mr. Rouhani reaffirmed the importance of tourism as one of the most effective tools of public diplomacy in communication and interaction between nations, cultures and the mutual recognition of peace and friendship.
Speaking at the event, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Gary Lewis delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon which noted – in part – “With unsustainable consumption and climate change threatening global water resources, this year’s World Tourism Day highlights the responsibility of the tourism industry to safeguard and intelligently manage water.”
Mr. Lewis then shared his personal reflections, stating “Tourism can be a great friend, but it must be managed properly, to be embraced properly.” In his remarks he also mentioned that “When tourists come they would want to enjoy the beauty of the country, but we have to ensure that that beauty is preserved.” He pointed, in detail, to the rich cultural heritage of Iran and urged that all should act as responsible citizens to “preserve and conserve”.
Also attending the event were representatives of tourism establishments, diplomats including ambassadors of various countries, journalists and government officials including the newly appointed Vice President of the I. R. of Iran and Head of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, Mr. Mohammad-Ali Najafi.
In his remarks, Mr. Najafi said he was very optimistic and hopeful about the future of tourism industry in I. R. of Iran as a positive atmosphere has been formed under the new administration. In his closing remarks, he took the opportunity to speak directly to the distinguished ambassadors present during the event calling on them to create the grounds for a better understanding and knowledge between the nations, emphasizing that this mutual knowledge can result in peaceful relations among nations which will flourish into a higher demand for tourism.