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|By: Amir Aslanzadeh, General Manager of Pardisan Hotel, Mashhad, Iran|
The tourism industry will undoubtedly not develop in our country unless those engaged in it acquire pertinent knowledge and skills. An important factor that helps the tourism industry thrive is broadening the knowledge of the managers and employees of travel agencies and tourist resort, tour guides, technical managers, handicraft salespeople, professors and students of tourism, and other relevant segments, as well as governmental policymakers.
Complying with this, the Islamic Republic of Iran has set the development of tourism as one of its major goals in the 3rd and 4th 5-year National Development Programs.
Therefore, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a statement of cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran to offer a training course titled “Development of Tourism for the Islamic Republic of Iran”. The educational program includes the following:
Participants of this program are from both governmental and private sectors. Managers, deputy managers, and experts are among the participants from the governmental sector. The participants from the private sector are a representative of the society of hotel owners, and one of the travel agencies.
Hereby, as the appointed representative of the society of hotel owners, I report on the experiences gained from this program. Along the course, we got familiar with the ancient history, politics and government, economy, and the ancient customs of the Japanese. We especially studied the period of great development after World War II and the nuclear explosions in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which led the Japanese to self-confidence and to the realization of the fact that it is perfectly possible to gain the most out of the least potentials. Order and cleanliness are among the characteristics of the people of Japan. Self-management and self-control has been internalized in them. Etiquette, mutual respect, and team work on maintaining the nature, as well as avoiding environmental and noise pollution distinguish the Japanese from the people of other nations.
The Japanese are especially interested in variety in services, and they do not welcome repetitious services. They also value the history, art, and handicrafts of other nations. The tourism industry is of high importance for the Japanese, and one of the steps taken to boost this industry has been to introduce the beautiful nature of the country to the tourists.
Religious rituals and traditional beliefs are also considered important, and every effort is made to convey them to the younger generations.
While it is true that Japan is one of those countries which have recently begun to attract tourists, good programming and organized activities of this country have been reasons why New Zealand, with its high potentials for tourism, has given the management of its tourism industry to Japan.
As you know, like any other country which is successful in tourism, this important and profitable industry in Japan is run by its private sector, and the governmental sector only plays a supportive role.
I hope that, inspired by the individual and collective features mentioned, we will be able to take positive steps in developing the tourism industry in Iran with the aid of other governmental and private-sector managers and employers, who have had the opportunity to take this course or its previous series.