0817 GMT May 19, 2019
Mostafa Fatemi-Firouzabadi told Iran Daily that the celebration sought to pay respects to cultures of different countries, adding that tourists in general and Chinese visitors in particular have recently taken keen interest in Yazd Province.
He said tourists from European as well as Southeast Asian countries visit Iran each year. China ranked first in the number of tourists visiting Iran followed by France, Germany and Italy, he pointed out.
"Since Chinese tourists are always present in Yazd Province, we do our best to be with them in their cultural and national occasions so they have a great time while in Iran."
There had been some ceremonies for Christians in Yazd in the last two years, he said, noting, Chinese presence in Yazd during their two-week celebration of their New Year (starting on February 4) inspired the officials to host Chinese New Year ceremony in Yazd for the first time.
"Holding the exhibition and respecting their traditions not only made Chinese tourists happy, but also surprised them when they saw their fellow countrymen invited to different hotels in Yazd.
"Similar to Persian New Year, Chinese people also tick down the seconds to the new year's moment which was 19:30 in Iran's local time.
"Among other traditions is the red decorative lanterns to create a festive atmosphere to bring joy and good luck to the Chinese people."
Yazd is making great efforts to attract more tourists, he said, adding the focus on tour guides with a knowledge of major international languages, travel agencies and hotels with highest number of residents are among the strategies to achieve this.
Mohammad-Hossein Eslami, who is responsible for attracting Chinese tourists to Yazd, said that provincial officials are placing advertisements and presenting cultural programs to attract foreign tourists and introduce Iran's attractions better than ever.
"We also try to change negative publicity against Iran and instead introduce Iran's true image, culture and attractions." he said.
Eslami's Chinese wife said, "I met my husband in China and since we are both interested in tourism, we decided to set up a residential center for the Chinese in Yazd."