A senior Italian tourism expert who has recently embarked on some tours across Iran believes that a gap exists between reality in Iran and the media image of the country worldwide, emphasizing that the country’s civilization and history deserve to be seen.
“There is a gap and vacuum between reality in Iran and what is being depicted from the country [worldwide]. Outside the borders, there is no mention of Iranian civilization and historical monuments, while they deserve to be seen,” Maurizio Davolio, chairperson of European Alliance for Responsible Tourism and Hospitality, said in an interview with ISNA published on Wednesday.
Davolio, who is also the president of the Italian Association of Responsible Tourism and a member of the National Council for Development Cooperation at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has toured provinces of Kordestan, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Fars and Tehran during his one-week stay in Iran. The expert also took part in joint project for developing cultural heritage and tourism between the two countries, which was unveiled in Tehran on December 17.
On the sidelines of the unveiling ceremony, Italian ambassador to Iran Giuseppe Perrone said: “The [joint] project aims to make sure that Iran develops its capabilities to attract more foreign tourists and better organize its tourism industries.”
The envoy described Iran “as a country that is very rich in terms of cultural sites and archeological sites… so there is a lot for people to discover,” adding “Iran is a country that has a great and [un-]tapped potential and when it comes to tourism, cultural heritage, it has a lot to offer.”
For more than 20 centuries Iran and Italy have been the embodiment of Eastern and Western civilizations and such a long history of relationships and many historical, religious and cultural commonalities between the two nations has helped Iran and Italy better understanding each other today, ambassador added.
In November, Tehran and Rome marked 60 years of collaboration in the fields of cultural heritage and archaeology in a conference, which was held at the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran.
Iran embraces hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.