By Samaneh Aboutalebi

Iran attractions and going beyond borders on screen    

June 8, 2021 - 16:48

As a source of high incomes with low emissions, tourism has always been a luring market for countries that have tried to enter this lucrative industry with their even smallest facilities and potential. 

Due to its natural and historical characteristics, Iran could be one of the most desirable tourist destinations, however, for this to happen, the country needs to display its real potential and show off its charm.

To be part of this wide-ranging industry, every country in the world strives to represent itself in the best possible way, and producing films is among the most effective methods of doing so.

Film and television productions can create a profound impact on the thoughts and feelings of potential travelers when deciding where to go on holiday or when visiting a destination.

Through films, documentaries, TV shows, and commercials, people are inspired to visit the places seen in the content screened, to discover new destinations.

Despite being one of the quickest-growing sectors in the world's tourism industry, film tourism seems to be overlooked in Iran.

Across the globe, film tourism exists as a means to illustrate the tourism potential, heritage, culture, and anthropology of each nation, Iranian documentarian Peyman Zandi told the Tehran Times last week.

This is an emerging tourism niche focused on attracting tourists in a clear, distinctive way using a media easy to understand by all, he explained. 

“As we all know, films made in this regard are usually great because they exploit the potential of tourism and the seventh art (cinema), which ultimately encompasses other forms of art.”

As the world of media and social networks expands, attention to the making of such films can be one of the most important modes of understanding Iran and its cultural diversity as well as its tourism worldwide, he explained. 

“Using indirect advertising through films and documentaries, people all over the world learn about a safe and beautiful Iran and start thinking about their travel plans to the country.”

“As a personal experience, I can say that when the audience sees my works in world film festivals, regardless of the quality of the film, they are fascinated by the beauty and wonder of Iran and yearn to visit the country, this is the effect of this media,” said Zandi, who has received 12 international awards for his documentaries on Iran’s tourism. 

Though he has been a producer and director on his own due to the lack of attention, he believes if the importance of making such movies is properly understood, the industry will flourish.

“In tourism, everything is connected, meaning that each positive event carries with it positive feedback for everyone, therefore public and private sectors need to attentive to this sector.”

An organizer of tourism events, who holds a national tourism medal for his efforts, Zandi believes that to attract investment and support, film tourism needs more promotion. 

His 2019 documentary, "Dance of Life," has been screened in a variety of events nationwide and internationally, winning several awards. 

The film which is about local rituals related to water throughout the country has been acclaimed and well received by critics and audiences. 

“Today, thanks to advances in technology, there are lots of products that present tourism content, however, a lack of artistic perspective can quickly reduce these products to clichés, with repetitive messages rotting the subject and not inspiring tourists to travel,” he noted. 

“Although it may seem easy, it isn't so simple,” he concluded. 

Photo: A scene from "Dance of Life" by Iranian documentarian Peyman Zandi

ABU/AFM

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