Hamid Bahael, Chairman of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and Vice President of Iran, told eTurboNews (eTN) that all governments should forget political challenges when they talk about tourism relations. This is in line with the concept established long ago by Louis D’Amore of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism.
With the blessing of ICHTO, the American Iran Tourism Association, at the request of Mr. Hamid reza Talebi and under the management of Mr. Talebi, is operating in Tehran as the first organisation registered to exclusively further tourism relations between the US and Iran.
ETN has been a long-time supporter of non-political relations based on tourism. The American Iran Tourism Association in the US was established in Hawaii by Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews.
“It’s a big step forward to have this organization officially licensed and established in Iran,” Mr. Steinmetz said, “This is true pioneer work. Hamid reza Talebi, who had been an ambassador for eTurboNews in Iran for many years, has single handedly established this organization in Iran.”
The American Iran Tourism Association has been actively assisting Iranian visitors with questions regarding how to effectively apply for a US visa. The association has also established a one-on-one consulting session for future visitors to the US and is helping to find the contacts necessary to make a trip to North America a good experience.
The association is also assisting US travellers to Iran with all of their questions in order to overcome the challenges of travelling to Iran.
Steinmetz concluded, “I think this is a good start and shows how a private organization can make a big difference when it comes to relations between different people.”
The American Iran Tourism Association mostly relies on volunteers and receives no public funding. It is the hope of Hamid Bahjael and Juergen Thomas Steinmetz to increase tourism, further personal friendships, and foster a closer cooperation between their two countries despite these difficult times.