MANILA - Aside from being the first one to be held in the country in over two decades, the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines will be historic for another reason: the debut of Miss Iran.
Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro said a representative from Tehran will be among the expected 120 candidates --the largest in the pageant's history.
This will be the first time Iran will join the 63-year beauty contest, de Castro told DZMM Friday.
Iran's participation in the Miss Universe pageant comes off the country's landmark nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.
Meanwhile, De Castro also said that they will be looking to tap local artists to perform at the pageant.
She said Cagayan de Oro, where reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach hails from, is being eyed as one of the hosts for auxiliary events, among other provinces. "It will be a big boost to our tourism industry," de Castro said.
(READ: What to expect from Miss Universe in PH)