The event was yet to begin
Now, it is time to talk about Atour in Sustainable Ecotourism Symposium. For us it was an honor to be part of the symposium since, we had a chance to enjoy the discussions and to present Iran and promote sustainable enjoyment 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 the University, and when I say newly made I mean it literary. The first time I visited this section the ceiling was not finished and there was no booths. 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 symposium. Before the show, we contacted Qeshm free trade zone to arrange for a shared area. 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.
the booths belonging to Atour in Sustainable Ecotourism Symposium before the design
And here comes the symposium
Everybody in Atour helped to prepare for the booth and on September 24, we headed to the exhibition area to set up everything. It was both exciting and challenging since 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 popular 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.
The booths belonging to Atour in Sustainable Ecotourism Symposium after the design
We did all we could in the short time that we had to prepare the booth and on September 25, the trade show officially began. The presence of Austria Ambassador, president of the university and officials from both countries was notable.
the head of university, representative of cultural heritage and handicraft organization and Austrian ambassador beginning the program
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.
discussing ecotourism in Iran while enjoying Iranian cuisine
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 were our guests. It was the eighth time Fabian visited Iran; however, it was Julian’s first time. We had a nice talk about Iran’s potential as a ski destination.
one of the highlights of the program was meeting Fabian Lentsch
Time to have some fun
This event 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 … were present.
The symposium was full of color and diversity
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.
Atour team in a Bakhtiary Siah Chador
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.
Atour team with traditional attire of people of Qeshm
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.
The art of designing hands with Henna
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.
The coffee section, their coffee aroma filled the whole hall
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.