Foreign tourists are becoming increasingly interested in seeing Iran’s spectacular nature, history and architecture.
This growth reminds us of the need to increase our capacity to develop tour guides’ language skills, the head of Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (IFTGA), Mohsen Hajisaeed, said in an interview with an Iran Daily reporter.
The IFTGA, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization and other educational institutions should exert considerable effort to make Iran tour guides professionals, adept in at least two languages.
At present a number of Iranian tour guides are attending classes held by different embassies in Tehran to develop their language skills in German and Italian languages, Hajisaeed said.
“Tour guides are messengers of culture, history and localities,” he said, adding that what a tourist sees and what he or she hears from tour guides are different stories, which together can create a thorough image in the tourist’s mind.
“Once a tourist visits a place, he or she enjoys becoming familiar with the culture, architecture and lifestyle of the tourist attraction more than what he or she actually sees; and tourist guides play an important role in this way,” he said.
Yazd alone has 500 tour guides among which 200 are members of the province’s Tour Guide’s Guild, he said. Their numbers will increase because there are many tour guides who are attending their training courses.
Last year, 130,000 foreign tourists visited monuments, cultural buildings and natural landscapes of Iran’s central province of Yazd, he said.
Regarding the serious need of tour guides knowing different languages, tour guides in Yazd know Chinese, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Unlike other cities, the architecture and urbanization in Yazd are congruent with their environment, and thus structures called baadgir (wind catchers) were built to cool the interior of dwellings.
Once people in Yazd recognized the dry weather and water crisis, they started building qanats (sloping underground channels) to transport water from an aquifer or water well to different areas in Yazd for irrigation and drinking.
The structures of baadgir and qanat indicate a reconciliation between people and desert-like areas, he said, adding that today foreign architects and tourists are seeking to understand the knowledge and technology of our ancestors in terms of the architecture of desert-like cities such as Yazd.
Today, the world knows Yazd as a historical city, which received the prize from the 2018 Energy Globe Award and in 2019 was picked as the world’s capital of sustainable cities.
In 2017, Yazd was the first city in Iran registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Aside from foreign tourist perspectives on Yazd, the province has become one of tourism’s ‘golden triangle’ for Iranian tourists – the other two provinces being Isfahan and Fars.