As reported by ISNA, participation in international tourism exhibitions is considered one of Iran’s most significant promotional tools for tourism. While some tourism officials believe that participating in international exhibitions only had a minimal impact on attracting foreign tourists, private sector stakeholders and tourism investors hold a different view. They argue that Iran’s absence from foreign exhibitions will significantly harm its tourism industry, leading to its gradual decline, especially as they assert that promoting Iran’s tourism in foreign media requires minimal cost and Iran’s international tourism advertising efforts have been limited to exhibitions and B2B commercial meetings.
Due to the easing of COVID restrictions and the reopening of international exhibitions, Iran’s presence in its target and traditional markets has been notable. However, a review of its presence reveals a lack of comprehensive and targeted strategies to make a tangible impact on tourism. This situation has been exacerbated over the past year due to the political behavior of certain countries.
Nonetheless, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism has planned to participate in 10 tourism exhibitions in the top-targeted countries by the end of the current Iranian. However, some of these exhibitions have been hindered due to reasons such as U.S. sanctions or sporadic political behavior in certain countries. Some Iranian tourism agencies have stated that they will attend these exhibitions as visitors to maintain Iran’s visibility.
According to prioritization and planning, Iran is expected to have a presence in exhibitions in France, China, Italy, the UK, Spain, Turkey, India, Germany, and Russia by the end of the Iranian year. However, Iran will not have a pavilion in the exhibitions in France due to insufficient number of participants, and in the case of the highly competitive English exhibition, the private sector will be responsible for the representation.
China’s leading outbound travel exhibition, known as COTTM, has temporarily excluded Iran due to US sanctions, but Iran is expected to have an official presence at the ITB Shanghai exhibition in China.
In addition to these exhibitions, for secondary-target markets, Iran plans to participate in exhibitions in Armenia, Oman, Japan, Qatar, Poland, Austria, and Serbia. The decision to attend these exhibitions will be made based on the number of applicants and exhibition conditions.
Iran, which, according to the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism, attracts the most travelers and tourists from neighboring countries, has primarily focused on these nations over the past year. However, marketing efforts in these countries still follow traditional methods. As part of the ministry’s marketing plan, it is expected to organize specialized tourism exhibitions in Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.