Why Iran is important for UNWTO Secretary General  Zurab Pololikashvili?


The Islamic Republic of Iran is an important country for the UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. Iran is a member of the UNWTO Executive Council and if Pololikashvili wants to run for his second term needs the support of Iran and other Executive Council members.

Pololikashvili is very comfortable around the diplomatic community in Madrid having represented Georgia as their ambassador before he was elected to the UNWTO job.

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Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and Iran’s Ambassador to Spain Hassan Qashqavi have called for increased cooperation on tourism. This was reported in the Teheran Times this morning.

After reading the report it doesn’t appear clear how this expanded cooperation between UNWTO and Iran may look like. According to the report, the officials explored ways for deepening mutual assistance in a Tuesday meeting in Madrid.

The Iranian envoy elaborated on Tehran’s strategic policies in the field of tourism as he pointed to existing facilities for simplification in the visa regulations.

Active presence of Iranian companies in the FITUR tourism trade fair and holding various cultural exhibits were among examples the Iranian official set to highlight tourism ties between Iran and Spain.

Pololikashvili, for his part, said the UN body is ready for contributing to the development of the industry. He hailed Iran’s tourist attractions as well.

Earlier this month, Pololikashvili held a meeting with Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Director Ali-Asghar Mounesan, discussing the issue of establishing a handicrafts academy.

In November, Pololikashvili paid a visit to Iran. He gave a keynote speech at the 40th UNWTO Affiliate Members Plenary Session held in the city of Hamedan.


Juergen Thomas Steinmetz has continuously worked in the travel and tourism industry since he was a teenager in Germany (1979), beginning as a travel agent up through today as a publisher of eTurboNews (eTN), one of the world’s most influential and most-read travel and tourism publications. He is also Chairman of ICTP. His experiences include working and collaborating with various national tourism offices and non-governmental organizations, as well as private and non-profit organizations, and in planning, implementing, and quality control of a range of travel and tourism-related activities and programs, including tourism policies and legislation. His major strengths include a vast knowledge of travel and tourism from the point of view of a successful private enterprise owner, superb networking skills, strong leadership, excellent communication skills, strong team player, attention to detail, dutiful respect for compliance in all regulated environments, and advisory skills in both political and non-political arenas with respect to tourism programs, policies, and legislation. He has a thorough knowledge of current industry practices and trends and is a computer and Internet junkie.