Iranian minister, Russian envoy discuss ways to expand tourism

May 19, 2021 - 18:0

TEHRAN – Iranian tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan and Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan on Tuesday discussed ways to expand tourism ties as the two countries are about to execute a visa-free agreement for tourist groups.

Talking about the significance of tourism, the minister said that it can pave the way for the people of the two countries to deepen their [cultural] bonds and relations, IRNA reported.

“If we are looking for a higher level of ties between Iran and Russia, these relations between the two nations should be developed.”

An important step towards this goal is the practical implementation of the [previously-signed] visa-free agreement for tourist groups, Mounesan explained.

Dzhagaryan, for his part, said necessary measures are currently underway for a joint working group to implement the visa waiver scheme between Tehran and Moscow.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the ambassador said that Russian tourists are eager to travel to Iran which is rich in history and tourism attractions.

“Russian tourists are eager to travel to unknown destinations and adventure tourism, and Iran, with its historical background, natural attractions, and potential in ecotourism, is a good destination for them.”

Mostafa Sarvari who presides over the tourism marketing and advertising office of the Iranian Tour Operators Association on Monday said if visas for travel groups are waived between the two countries, Iran would be the winner; because more Russians will travel to the Islamic Republic.

According to Ebrahim Pourfaraj, who presides over the association, the majority of potential Russian travelers are unaware of vast tourist attractions that exist in every corner of Iran. “The fact is that Iran’s political and economic relations with Russia are considered as good, but this has nothing to do with attracting tourists because it is directly connected with the Russian people. It is the Russian people who must choose Iran as their destination.”

In 2017, President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin inked a visa-free agreement for tourist groups. The agreement, however, seems to be implemented in the near future as a joint technical committee on Wednesday reached an initial agreement in this regard.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 24 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

AFM

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