For us it was an honor to be part of the Sustainable symposium of September 2019, both because we had a chance to enjoy the discussions and because we had a chance to present Iran as an adventure tourism destination and promote sustainable use of Iran Mountains. The show required a lot of effort but was rewarding at the same time. Here is how it happened, from the beginning to the end.
The trade fair was in a newly made section of University, and when I say newly made I mean it literary. The first time I visited this section the ceiling was not finished and they booths were not made. We are talking around 2-3 weeks to the event. People were working full forced in the university to finish it. What’s more, we had to wait for them to make the booths to measure them and arrange for designs.
Nevertheless, with the effort of everyone in Science and Culture University, the trade show area was finally ready. Now, it was our time to work day and night to prepare everything for our booth in the show. Before the show, we had contacted Qeshm free trade zone to share the areas. We had five booths. Two for each and a shared business section where we held the meetings. Here is how the booths looked like when we first saw them.
Everybody in Atour Adventure helped to prepare for the booth and on September 24, we headed to the exhibition area to set up our booth. It was both exciting and challenging considering that we did not have much time. The concept was to cover a wall with a picture of Damavand that is both the highest mountain of Iran and the most commonly visited one. Therefore, we had a very beautiful picture of Damavand printed and used it to cover one of the walls. Then, For the other wall, we covered it with photos from our tours and travelers.
We did all we could in the short time that we had to prepare the booth and on September 25 and around 11 o’clock, the trade show officially began. The presence of Austria Ambassador, president of the university and officials from both countries was notable.
As a recent member of Nature Friends, we had the honor of hosting some fellow members and talk about our concerns and plan. We have much to discuss with Ernst Dullnigg. Especially since, he helped us a lot with becoming a member of this organization.
We had also some very important guests from Austria. Fabian Lentsch and Julian Zenzmaier who came to Iran for a presentation on their life and experiences as professional skiers. It was the eighth time that Fabian visited Iran; however, it was Julian’s first time. We had a nice talk about Iran’s potential as a ski destination.
What was great about this event was that it was not just business and we had so much fun. Especially with the presence of Iran Foreign Student Society. Students from different countries had booths there, presenting their country, handicraft and culture. Students from India, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and … took part there.
In addition to the foreign student, ethnic groups of Iran were present as well. We met great people who worked with Bakhtiari nomads. They conducted tours that included enjoying nomadic life and accompanying them as well. We took the chance to take a photo with their beautiful costume.
One of the highlights of the program was Qeshm free zone. We all went there to get photos with their beautiful handicrafts. Traditionally, women wore a mask shaped ornament to cover their face. Locals call it Borgheh. Although nowadays people use it less, it is still an important part of their culture.
After taking our photos, it was time to get our hands designed with henna. It is another tidbit of Qeshm culture. The art that is part of Indian culture as well. All Atour girls were excited to get their hands designed.
Now, we can’t forget the lifesavers of the event. If not for these guys and their delicious coffee, we wouldn’t survive 10 hours of constant talking, standing and meeting.
Taking part in this symposium was fun, educational and very constructive. We met our old friends and made new ones. We got to meet people who worked in the same industry and had very ambitious yet creative ways of looking to tourism. Now we are filled with ideas and look forward to form cooperation with those we saw. It was a great experience.