Iran eyes to attract more travelers from Turkey

July 11, 2020 - 22:0

TEHRAN – Iranian travel agencies plan to offer stimulus packages and hold familiarization tours for Turkish agencies, tour operators, journalists, and influencers in a bid to attract more travelers from the neighboring country.

“Iran will be organizing familiarization tours for about 100 Turkish tourism agencies after the [complete] reopening of joint borders and resuming [mutual] tourist relations,” ISNA quoted Mehdi Rezaei, the secretary of the Turkey consortium at the Association of Iranian Travel Agents, as saying on Friday.

Regarding potential sightseers from Europe, Rezaei noted, “Europeans, with sensitivities over the coronavirus, are unlikely to travel to Iran for another two years, so that [their shares] should be replaced by other countries.”

“Fam tours had been planned for Turkish [travel] agencies and media for a period before the virus pandemic. Unfortunately, at the outset of the outbreak, the tours were postponed to another time when mutual travels are resumed.”

“Turkey was among the top ten countries with the most arrivals in Iran during the [Iranian calendar] year 1398 [Mar. 2019 – Mar. 2020], according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts,” he explained.

“We must go to the heart of Turkey and introduce our country to them. In Iran, there are places that Turks wish to visit, such as the shrines in Neyshabour and Kashan. Many Turks are familiar with Iranian literature and poets, and Hafez’s poems are etched in the memory of many of them. We must develop these capacities.”

He remained that the neighboring country is potentially a noticeable travel market for Iran, saying “Contrary to many who think that Turkey is not a good tourism market, I emphasize that its capacity is high…. And we just need to work harder. If the situation improves, we will probably hold a fam tour by September, inviting 100 Turkish tour operators and we will also hold bilateral meetings between Turkish and Iranian agencies.”

The border closure with the Islamic Republic due to spreading coronavirus particularly hit Iranian arrivals during Noruz holiday in late March, when the largest number Iranians visit Turkey.

In 2019, Hormatollah Rafiei, head of the Association of Iranian Travel Agencies, emphasized the need to attain a balance in tourist flow rates between the two nations. “Iran intends to reach a balance with Turkey in the movement of tourist flow,” Rafiei said in a meeting with Firuz Baglikaya, the head of the Association of Travel Agencies of Turkey.

Deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri said in May that Iran’s tourism industry will get back on the right track sooner than expected thanks to measures taken to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

“I believe that tourism industry of the country will get back on the right track far sooner than generally expected thanks to the measures taken to deal with the spread of coronavirus in tourist destinations, hotels, stopovers, and all the centers which are affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts,” Teymouri said in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times.

Referring to foreign arrivals, Teymouri said that international tourism could be recovered soon because it is mostly relying on potential travelers and pilgrims from the neighboring countries.

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has plunged the travel and tourism industry and economy in the global scene over that past couple of months as passenger traffic on airlines and hotel occupancy rates have fallen off a cliff compared to the same periods previous years.

AFM/MG

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