Japanese tour operators weighing Iran’s Kerman as a new destination

April 13, 2019

TEHRAN – A number of Japanese tour operators and ecotourism associates have recently visited natural attractions in Iran’s Kerman province, mulling over it to become a new destination.

“About 10 tour operators and planners ecotourism reporters from Japan traveled to Iran and exclusively visited Shahdad area in the Lut Desert of Kerman province,” ISNA quoted Seyyed Abbas-Ali Emamieh, representative of Iran’s tourism office in Japan, as saying on Saturday.

“The trip to Iran was the first experience of them all who were very impressed and immediately began planning for a tour in Iran, and in particular in Kerman,” Emamieh said.

They have released a lot of information on Iran and Kerman, especially on Shahdad…, he added.

Referring to U.S.-led sanctions targeting Iran’s economy, the official explained: “Such a familiarizing tour is definitely difficult to be undertaken because of current political and economic conditions.”

“However, we are negotiating with a Turkish airline that operates six routes to Iran, planning to increase its flights to Japan… A domestic airline is also planned to sponsor the project.”

Shahdad - a major part of the Lut desert in southeastern Kerman province - is home to massive sand pyramids created by wind and water. The “Lut” plain is a natural landscape of Iran which is a UNESCO registered site.

Europeans have constituted the highest number of arrivals in Iran’s Shahdad desert since the beginning of the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 21), ISNA quoted Gholamreza Farrokhi, the provincial tourism chief, as saying in December 2018.

Over 2,300 foreign nationals stayed in eco-lodges across Shahdad during the aforementioned period, which shows 25 percent rise year on year, and most of foreign visitors to Shahdad are from European countries including Germany, Italy, Spain and France, Farrokhi said.

The big and sprawling Kerman province has been a cultural melting pot since antiquity, blending Persians with subcontinental tribe dwellers. It is home to myriad historical sites and scenic landscapes such as Bazaar-e Sartasari, Jabalieh Dome, Ganjali Khan Bathhouse, Malek Jameh Mosque and Shahdad Desert to name a few.

AFM/MQ/MG

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