Tabriz 2018 Beginning of Tourism Projects

Asenior tourism official in East Azarbaijan Province has called for tempering expectations over Tabriz's selection as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018.

Morteza Abdar Bakhshayesh, the head of the provincial office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, told Mehr News Agency that the event will not shake up Tabriz's tourism sector.

"Tabriz 2018 is only the beginning for the city, as well as the province at large," he said, adding that it is meant to serve as a starting point for tourism projects that will have long-term impacts.

In December 2015, Tabriz was selected as the capital of Islamic tourism in 2018 by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. To ensure Tabriz’s hospitality will live up to its status, a taskforce comprising five ministries and Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has been formed to oversee preparations.

Qeshm Airlines launched its Tabriz-Hamburg route on Friday to help improve the city's global profile ahead of its hosting of tourism ministers from Muslim countries next year.

The capital of the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, Tabriz predates the Islamic conquest of Persia. It served as the capital city of a number of dynasties following the conquest.

During its long history, the city was ransacked by Mongolian raiders and Ottoman invaders and razed by devastating earthquakes, but was rebuilt every time.

The city hosts famous sites, including Jame’ Mosque, Arg-e Tabriz (citadel) and Bazaar of Tabriz, of which the latter has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2015, Tabriz was declared a World Craft City by the World Craft Council.

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