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Tim Boxer


Nina Boxer
Dan Hotels' e-Dan Club

Esteghlal Hotel, a 5-star lodging in Tehran
Esteghlal Hotel, a 5-star lodging in Tehran

Arrow in hotel room points to Mecca
Arrow in hotel room points to Mecca
Tehran Convention Hall
Tehran Convention Hall
Revolutionary Turn In Iran:
We Welcome U.S. Tourists

OR two years travel professionals have been consulting behind the scenes to improve relations between Iran and the United States.

In 2008 Iranian tourism officials organized the First International Tour Operators Convention (ITOC) in Tehran and invited guests from 42 countries to visit their ancient land. Juergen Thomas Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews.com, brought a media group of 20 people, including myself.

As the first westerner allowed to speak at the Islamic hall of government office, Steinmetz declared, "I am convinced that peace through tourism is possible."

Steinmetz met with Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi, then vice president of Iran and president of Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. Mashayi said that the purpose of tourism is "to help the people of the world to know each other….We have to love each other and feel compassion toward each other."

Mashayi redefined tourism as a strategic matter, of utmost importance to spread knowledge and friendship among the peoples of the world. "Darkness and ignorance promotes hatred," but tourism is "the best, shortest, most effective, most attractive way to help people know each other."

"The importance of tourism is related to security, more important than culture," Mashayi affirmed.

Since then Steinmetz has succeeded in forging a permanent bond with Hamid Baghayi, the new chairman of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization and vice president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In October 2010 the American Iran Tourism Association was registered in Tehran, the first time that an organization there was allowed to have "American" in its title.

That’s a revolutionary outcome of Steinmetz’s efforts. For the week I spent in Iran at the 2008 convention I saw banners on street poles and signs on the wall of the former American embassy proclaiming "Death to America."

Presumably such ugly tokens of hate will vanish in the name of love and friendship that tourism bestows.

Esfandiar Rahim Mashawi greets Herve Barre of Unesco at travel convention
Esfandiar Rahim Mashawi greets Herve Barre of Unesco at travel convention
To encourage travel to Iran from the United States, Steinmetz will chair the American chapter of the International Council of Tourism Partners (ICTP). Hamid Reza Talebi serves as president of the Iranian chapter.

They declared in a press statement that "they have formed this tourism partnership based on the premise and the belief that the tourism industry is the key to peaceful relations and the abatement of conflict between the U.S. and Iran."

Where statesmen and the United Nations have failed to reconcile the U.S. and Iran, Steinmetz and Talebi may well succeed. Talebi assured Americans that their visas will be processed quickly if they are associated with ICTP.

Inside Noor Mosque
Inside Noor Mosque

For more information contact Thomas@tourismpartners.org or call 808-536-1100.

I still have exciting memories of my attendance at the convention when I explored Tehran, Kish Island, Shiraz and Isfahan. I found the people extremely receptive to foreign visitors – especially Americans.

Ancient gate to city of Tehran
Ancient gate to city of Tehran


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Indonesia Prepares To Host
ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012

HE ASEAN Tourism Forum 2011, which brought together some 2,000 travel professionals to its annual convention, this year in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, came to a rousing conclusion with all eyes focused on next year’s venue.

The closing ceremonies took place at the beautiful Sofitel Phnom Penh at Phokeethra where the head of this year’s host committee, Dr. Thong Khon, Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism, passed the ATF flag and plaque to the 2012 host committee, headed by Indonesia’s Jero Wacik, Minister of Culture and Tourism.

Indonesia will welcome ATF 2012 in January in magnificent Manado. Indonesia has been celebrated for the beautiful beaches in Bali, the exciting nightlife in Jakarta and the cultural heritage sites of Sumatra. Next year Indonesia intends to introduce the many delights of Manado.

In a statement to the TRAVEX Secretariat, Wacik remarked, "Manado is famous as a diver’s paradise, but also offers wonderful hospitality, infrastructure, and diverse and stunning landscapes."

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If Injured Abroad
Who Do You Call?

EDJET ASSIST is the premier medical evacuation membership service in the country. If a member is hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, virtually anywhere in the world and requires continued hospitalization, MedjetAssist will review his or her condition both with the attending physician and the Medjet physician, then arrange transfer to the member's hospital of choice. MedjetAssist, headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., is the recognized provider of medical evacuation and repatriation services for AARP. Annual membership is $250 for individual, $385 for family (up to seven members). For more information visit www.medjet.com.

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David Boxer Focuses
On New York City

To see more stunning images by David Boxer, visit www.flickr.com/photos/davidnc82 and add your comment.

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