By Afshin Majlesi

Iran at the height of travel season

November 25, 2019 - 19:18

TEHRAN – Perhaps it is tough to define a best time for visiting Iran, which is known as a four-season country, I mean spring, summer, fall and winter; each having its own charms and travel lovers.

However, from a wider point of view, like any other international destination, there is usually a low-season and a high-season for typical globetrotters in particular when it comes to weather conditions or saving time and money. Wicked weather for the majority of travelers could mean snowy slopes for outdoor enthusiasts.

Some experts say there is a lot to love in Iran during the fall (September, October, and November) when many places emerge from their winter blanket as pomegranates take the center stage in every corner. Others add the spring (March, April, and May) when you can also find fair weather almost everywhere; not too hot and not too cold.

Undertaking fam tours [for international travel agents, travel marketers, tour operators, and media personnel], offering [bargaining] travel packages, influencers' portrayals of Iran in the social media, and digital marketing, are among elements, which have fueled the boom this year, Deputy Tourism Minister Vali Teymouri has said.

However, any time of year you pick to vacation, usually affects prices you’ll pay and your travel experience, as you know busy seasons attract lots of tourists to popular destinations.  Some folks would rather book a getaway during a peak season to have ideal weather or because it works best for family holidays.

To find good rates, if you don’t mind hot weather, you may tour Iran between June and September or even during wintertime when it’s slightly colder.

I, personally, am in favor of roaming in low or shoulder season when things are cheaper and quieter!

Don’t forget to mind public holidays and religious events that are of high importance as well, for instance; Norouz (Iranian New year), which usually spans from March 21 to April 6 each year); Ramadan (dates vary), when eating and drinking is forbidden just in public; and the first ten-day of the lunar month of Muharram (dates vary) when mourning ceremonies for Imam Hussein (AS), the third Shia Imam, are observed in every corner of the country.

Official views

On Saturday (Nov. 23), Deputy Tourism Minister Vali Teymouri talked on the matter, calling “the second half of autumn” as the peak of foreign tourists’ visits to Iran.

“Following several follow-up assemblies between the Tourism Ministry, stakeholders in tourism and hospitality industries and the private investors, the country has been in preparation for [meeting] requirements of the high-season of foreign tourists,” Teymouri said, IRNA reported.

“For the time being, a significant number of foreign tourists are visiting the country, creating a boom in the inbound tours,” the official said, without mentioning a figure.

Undertaking fam tours [for international travel agents, travel marketers, tour operators, and media personnel], offering [bargaining] travel packages, influencers' portrayals of Iran in the social media, and digital marketing are among elements, which have fueled the boom this year, the official explained.

He also referred to the concept of “Iranophobia”, saying travelers to the country will well-differentiate between what they have personally perceived and the image some Western countries and media try to portray from Iran and its people.

Cutting traveling bureaucracies

As of August, all Iranian border crossings are letting foreign nationals in without passport stamps according to a presidential decree that orders for the waiver of physical stamping on travelers’ passports upon entering or leaving the country.

The decision is expected to facilitate travels to the country without fear of possible U.S. penalties, as last year, Washington announced travelers to some certain countries including Iran would face restrictions to enter the U.S.

The Islamic Republic is also undertaking a pilot project in a select of its airports, issuing electronic visas -- without any entry or exit stamps.

The Iranian government has waived visa requirements for passport holders from China and Hong Kong to attract more foreign tourists from the Far East; however, it is a unilateral measure i.e. Iranian tourists visiting China or Hong Kong still need visas.

Iran embraces hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

AFM/MG

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