Iran, safe and desirable destination for foreign tourists, minister says

June 8, 2021 - 17:40

TEHRAN – Having unique tourism capabilities, Iran is a safe and desirable travel destination for visitors from around the world, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan has said.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Russian and Iranian tourism activists in Moscow on Monday. 

In recent years, Iran’s tourism sector has flourished because new branches of traveling, such as eco-tourism, health tourism, mining tourism, and agritourism, have all been gaining popularity, the minister said. 

Iran offers an impressive range of tourist attractions, including historical, cultural, and natural monuments, handicrafts, dense forests, towering mountains, roaring rivers, and beautiful deserts, while there are also over 700 museums that can be visited in different cities, he explained. 

Tourists can find the country to be one of the pocket-friendly destinations in the world, he mentioned. 

He also noted that some 400 hotels and over 2,000 eco-lodge units have been established across the country.  

Iran’s image in the world is being tarnished by the U.S.’s anti-Iran policy, but traveling to Iran could change this image for foreign tourists, he added.

Mounesan on Monday signed an action plan to implement a bilateral visa-free agreement for tourist groups. 

The signing of the agreement, which emphasizes a waiver of visas for tourist groups, was due to the good relations between the two countries as well as the interest of Iranians in visiting Russia and the existing capacity in the country for cultural tourists and history buffs, he noted during the signing ceremony. 

He also expressed hope that the signing of the joint action plan, as well as the process of increasing vaccination and overcoming the corona crisis, would result in a growth of tourism between Iran and Russia.
 
In 2017, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin inked a visa-free agreement for tourist groups.

A joint technical committee has been developing an action plan for the previously agreed visa-free travel arrangements since then, to put the agreement into effect.

Based on the 2017 agreement tour groups of 5 to 50 people heading to [easternmost parts of] Russia from Iran or vice versa are granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days.

Earlier this month, Mostafa Sarvari, who presides over the tourism marketing and advertising office of the Iranian Tour Operators Association, announced many Russian tourists are eager to travel to Iran, recounting his Russian counterparts. “Many [potential] Russian travelers are motivated to visit novel and lesser-known destinations such as Iran that could be a safe and attractive destination,” he said.

“According to Russian tourism experts, the feedback from Russian tourists who have traveled to Iran has been very positive, and its reflection, especially on social media, has caused a great deal of enthusiasm and interest.”

According to Ebrahim Pourfaraj, who heads the Iranian Tour Operators Association, rounds of negotiations have been held between Iranian tour operators, travel marketers, and their Russian counterparts. “We’ve been commenced talks with some Russian travel agents to put Iranian destinations on their itineraries…. And the Iranian Tour Operators Association has also entered negotiations with Russian unions for outbound tours to attract more travelers from Russia.”

Pourfaraj says the majority of potential Russian travelers are unaware of the 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.”

Iran is taking proactive measures in line with the long-term goal of 20 million tourists by 2025.

ABU/AFM

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