Influencers reflect firsthand experience of Iran journey

October 13, 2019

TEHRAN – A group of Instagram and Twitter influencers from Turkey, Russia, Italy, Ukraine, India and China have been visiting Iran for the past couple of days.

The influencers, who have some 16 million followers in total, made their journeys on a fam tour organized by the private sector with the aim of getting familiar with different aspects of the ancient land and introducing them to others.

During their trip, the influencers come across Iranian food, crafts, and tourism infrastructure such as hotels, restaurants, transportation and shopping malls, and share their experiences on social media with their audiences, ILNA reported on Sunday.

“With every passing day, I am falling in more love with Iran, the culture, heritage and of course the amazing people. #Esfahan is so amazing. The #NaqshEJahan, one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites is a treat to the eyes and the soul,” one of the bloggers, Harjinder Singh Kukreja, who is an Indian businessman, social activist and restaurant owner, posted on Twitter on October 8.

“With every passing day, I am falling in more love with Iran, the culture, heritage and of course the amazing people. #Esfahan is so amazing. The #NaqshEJahan, one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites is a treat to the eyes and the soul.”What comes to the mind of a travel agent when hearing the term “fam trip” is normally an exclusive program, including seminars and meetings, organized by tour operators to market their services and maximize profits but this one was totally different as pursued a new way to introduce the and its beauties to a world of social networks, medium.com reported on Saturday.

The first stage of the tour began with 12 influencers, starting from Tehran on an itinerary that included a well-known route with stops in famous cities such as Kashan, Isfahan and Shiraz.

“That’s because it is a well-known journey route with hotels meetings international standards and appropriate infrastructure for the tourism ambassadors in Iran. These tourism ambassadors, who are major influencers in this sector, take photos and shoot videos of the attractions, publish them on the social networks, and will help change the cliché image of what people in the world think about Iran. It could build trust and eventually encourage them to visit Iran to discover the other places,” medium.com quoted Hoda Rostami, organizer of the fam tour, as saying.

“Our guests have all arrived in Iran, finally. The trip begins today in an effort to present Iran from the viewpoint of twelve influencers and travel bloggers who have come here from different countries. Let’s hope for a memorable trip and experience,” Rostami wrote on her Instagram page.

Kashan is where foreigners will remember their first encounter with the desert and its houses with traditional designs, Rostami explained, saying the group of ambassadors would stay in a typical Iranian house in the desert areas to enjoy supper in a delightful evening at the watered yard of the house.

“We and a young meal planner, with exquisite taste and great cooking skills, designed the meals for the entire Famtrip. We’re going to set such tables for them that would be indelibly imprinted on their photos.”

On how she came up with the idea of arranging the Famtrip, Rostami said in her Instagram page, “Last year, I was in Turkey’s Canakkale with a group of trip influencers from various countries. We talked about our countries, and, as usual, they asked about Iran, and I told them “I’d invite you soon…’’. I did not imagine that the very same invitation and idea would become the Famtrip project a year later.”

In order to attract financing for the project and buckle down to work, Rostami came up with a plan to design and sell a “Travel Book” at her office, called “Ro Studio”. A non-Iranian airline has agreed to sponsor the flights for the Famtrip, the report added.

“The Travel Book is a functional planner accompanying you from the time you begin to plan a trip until you return home,” she says.

Rostami noted that a long list of world renowned influencers and travel photographers had been compiled in the beginning, while a final list of 15 people with a combined total of 16 million followers was chosen for the visit to Iran.

Iran’s deputy minister of tourism, Vali Teymouri, has told ILNA on Friday that the ministry welcomed the proposal for the Famtrip it had received three months ago.

He said the ministry found no problem with the proposed trip after careful consideration, and the foreign influencers were permitted entry.

Teymouri said all plans, coordination and costs for the Famtrip have been done by the private sector, and the tourism ministry has only facilitated the program.

“We need a good image of Iran to be displayed by the world media, thus, we would pursue any method perceived to be easy or less costly in compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s regulations. The ‘Feel Iran’ Famtrip has been carried out with the spiritual support from the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts as their plans are under control,” the deputy minister noted.

“We do our best to create a good image of Iran in the minds of the world people,” he concluded.

Moreover, tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on Thursday that the ministry supports certain Instagram influencers to travel to the country.

“Instagram influencers’ trips to Iran are backed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts and, in the advertising arena, we do a lot of work to fight Iranophobia and introduce the true face of Iran,” Mounesan said.

“One of the areas [in travel & tourism advertising] is to bring famous figures to Iran, get the country known to them in terms of its rich culture, beautiful natural landscapes and historical monuments…this is part of programs to introduce the country that we will definitely continue.”

The guests, who are introduced below, reportedly arrived in Iran on October 6:

Ciler Gecici; managing director of a famous concert hall in Istanbul with 705,000 followers

Alina Rudya; a famous Ukrainian photographer residing in Germany; Her photos have been published in prominent magazines like “Vogue” and “Der Spiegel”. She has 65,000 followers. Alina’s wedding ceremony will be held two days after the Famtrip to Iran.

Mehmet Kirali; a famous Turkish photographer living in Turkey. His style of ‘travel photography’ has attracted 1.2 million Instagram followers. Mehmet has been listed among the world’s wealthiest and most successful photographers.

Vutheara Kham; a renowned French photographer with 1.2 million followers. He published a book “Point Of Vuth” in 2013. He is known as the most influential French Instagrammer.

Ekaterina Mishchenkova; a Russian photographer and artist with more than 1.3 million followers on two Instagram pages.

Alex Atmolex; he has not ever published photo taken by himself, but has attracted around 480,000 Instagram followers by publishing the photographs of travel and other influencers.

Cathy; a Chinese expert on media and management and a travel blogger. She is the author of 12 best-selling books, and is going to write a book on Iran after the Famtrip project.

Harjinder Singh Kukreja; a famous Indian businessman, social activist and restaurant owner, famous for his family trips in the social networks. Harjinder has 1.6 million followers on Twitter and more than 100,000 Instagram followers.

Shi Enbo-hugo; one of the most famous and the representative of Chinese bloggers with more than 2 million followers in 3 Chinese social networks.

Vanessa Ziletti, an Italian beauty and fashion blogger with some 186,000 Instagram followers. Vanessa works with famous brands such as Hermes, L’Oreal, and other popular clothing brands.

Artem Shestakov; a Ukrainian travel influencer, businessman, and social media specialist with around 1.1 million followers on Instagram. Artem has worked with major carmakers such as Porsche, Land Rover, Ferrari, and Mercedes Benz.

Erika Santos; she has more than 1.5 million followers on two Instagram pages. She has won the prize for the best World Travel Blogger 2019.

With over one billion active monthly users, it seems reasonable that Instagram has enough power to set new trends on traveling to a country that boasts hospitable people and some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments, rich natural and rural landscapes as well as 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites to name a few.

AFM/MG

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