Chinese travel agents on fam tour across Iran

May 12, 2019

TEHRAN – A number of Chinese travel marketers and tour operators have recently finished an eleven-day familiarization tour across Iran with the aim of closely observing tourist destinations, changing natural landscape, local people and their traditions.

“A familiarization tour has been held for Chinese tour operations and travel marketers in order to be acquainted with tourist attractions in six provinces,” Mohammad-Ebrahim Larijani, the director of advertising and marketing office of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, was quoted by Mehr as saying on Sunday.

“Conducting familiarization tours with the aim of introducing tourism potentials and its relevant facilities is a duty of the advertising and marketing office. So for the first step, we hosted eight tour operators and tourists from China and [such a] program will continue until the end of the [current Iranian calendar] year.”

Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd and Fars were among provinces that the Chinese tourists visited, the official said, adding “China is a top priority of Iran’s target markets.”

In the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), the country held familiarization tours for eleven international groups, which were composed of 194 people including tour operators, journalists, bloggers, correspondents, radio and TV anchors and influential personalities, Larijani explained.

“The Chinese are interested in traveling to Iran and understanding our country, and this exhibition could have such a capacity to introduce Iran to them,” Hossein Khalifi, CHHTO representative in Shanghai, said in April.

According to data compiled by the CHHTO, Iran hosted 7.8 million foreign nationals during the year 1397 (March 2018-March 2019), a 52.5 percent hike from a year earlier. However, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Iran fell short of expectations as just 80,000 tourists visited the country in 2017.

Some experts believe that part of this failure comes from inside Iran, because Chinese restaurants are scanty across the country while the cuisine is of high importance for majority of the Chinese people.

Insignificant numbers of Chinese restaurants, Chinese-language guides or even inappropriate lodging facilities are also deemed to be among the main reasons behind the low number of Chinese tourist arrivals.

Over 100 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad during 2017, with Japan, Hong Kong, the U.S., South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and France among their top destinations.

AFM/MQ/MG

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