February 21st is an unforgettable date on every Iranian tourist guide’s calendar. Every year, the Iranian tourist guides gather together to celebrate their own special day with tourist guides all over the world. The ceremony always starts at 9:57 AM to remind them about discipline and commitment.
This event, which is rarely seen even in the most organized Iranian organizations dates back to nearly a decade ago.
The first one was held in Tehran, the capital city of Iran, in 2008 with the attendance of 130 tourist guides to show solidarity and to create a national network. The statement which had been written about accomplishing the gatherings’ goals, was read in closing ceremony.
In 2009, this tradition continued in Yazd by holding events like walking tours and an appreciation ceremony to thank the best tourist guides.
In 2010 the celebration was hosted by “Eastern Azerbaijan”. Like last years, the ceremony started at 9:57 AM to symbolize the punctuality of tourist guides, and the sculpture designed especially for the gathering was also unveiled.
In 2011, the 4th gathering under the slogan “tourism and biodiversity”, was held in “Ramsar”, a city in Mazandaran Province, and one of the greenest ones in Iran’s coastline. The responsibility for the environment was emphasized in this ceremony.
“Khuzestan Province”, the cradle of civilization, hosted the 5th gathering in 2012 under the slogan “tourist guide; a bridge among cultures”. Holding 8 practical workshops and naming one of the squares of Ahwaz “Tourist Guide” have been accomplishments of 5th ceremony.
About 700 tourist guides gathered together in Western Azerbaijan in 21st February, 2013, in a symbolic action to help the project of saving “Urmia Lake”. The big family of tourist guides, “Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Associations”, was created with the attendance of “Marcello Notarianni” the Adviser of the World Tourism Organization and “Ex de Medici” an Australian artist.
In 2015, “Kerman” hosted MS “Felicitas Wressnig”, President of the World Federation of Tourist Guide associations. Human figures holding colorful cardboards overhead that each set of which spell “Bam is alive” to commemorate 10th anniversary of Bam earthquake. A gigantic sculpture of tourist guide day which weighs about a ton, was also installed on the way of “Haft Bagh e Alavi“. Planting trees in the heart of the desert was another activity of tourist guides.
The 8th gathering, which was held in “Razavi Khorasan” might have been the biggest of all so far. In this gathering more than 700 tourist guides participated to celebrate Iran’s win to host the 2017 convention, and also MS “Ruby Roy”, the Vice President of WFTGA was invited. Lots of activities like visiting the tombs of “Ferdowsi”, “Khayyam” and “Attar”, holding workshops at Ferdowsi University and so on were done. Also, the slogan of “come 2 Iran” was shown in 3 colors of Iran Flag by cooperation of 106 tourist guides in “Binalood”.
This year, it was Isfahan’s turn to host the gathering. This year’s special motto was “active education and aware tourist guide”. The main object was to prepare the tourist guides to have their best performance in 2017 convention. There was more Unity, discipline and timing than the last years.
Same uniforms, smiling executive team and participants, diverse activities, practical and educational workshops, were all declaring that the tourist guides have made use of pervious experiences to organize this celebration much better than the last ones.
2 posters of tourist guides’ uniform in the color of white and turquoise symbolize the gender equality in addition to their distinctive design. 17 theoretical and practical workshops were also the symbol of the 2017 convention hosted by Iran. Moreover, practical panels and pre-tours as a microcosm of the WFTGA were held.
This year, by inviting 3 special instructors of WFTGA (Jean, Steve, Anastasia), 36 tourist guides could also participate in the international educational course (HOT).
Unveiling the special stamp of tourist guides which was a combination of 4 logos (IFTGA, ETGA, WFTGA and 2017 convention), was one of the other achievements of this year’s gathering.
The first issue of “Gilgamesh”, a quarterly magazine, with the topic of Heritage and tourism and with a different point of view, was given to the participants in the opening ceremony. Due to the environmental concerns, the paper used in the magazine has been made of stone powder to save water and trees. There also was a celebration cake which was designed with 5 logos of IFTGA, ETGA, 9TH celebration, WFTGA AND 2017 convention.
There were full of creative ideas too. An absolutely beautiful feature was created on water on “Naqsh e Jahan” Square’s pool by artificial flowers which were provided by “Sahife-Sajjad” charity. The flowers were shaped by more than 500 tourist guides in a way to show the sentence “I LOVE ISFAHAN”. It was the result of hours of working by devoted men who were eager to represent their city. The participants all gathered together under the fountains like puzzle pieces and created an absolutely fantastic image to be remembered for years. By renting the flowers from “Sahife-Sajjad” charity, in addition to save the environment, all the expenses of this event are saved to help disadvantaged students.
The closing ceremony started at 9:57 AM. Before the ceremony, there was an exhibition which presented different cultures of provinces.
Like previous years, the best tourist guides were appreciated, and also the journalists, international instructors, and supporters of the gathering were valued. Empathy and solidarity, teamwork and cooperation among all the participants was the great reflection of Isfahan celebration. This incredible gathering which was hosted by hospitable people of “Isfahan” is an introduction to 2017 convention in Iran.