Iran is an emerging destination for Russians: expert

April 28, 2023 - 21:0

TEHRAN – A Russian travel expert believes that Iran, as a travel destination, is still obscure for potential Russian travelers. However, its Islamic culture may be a strong incentive to draw sightseers.

Ivan Malofeev from the Moscow City Tourism Committee said Russians often travel to new destinations (such as Iran) with caution.

That sense of doubt exists, although the two countries have a good relationship, he stated.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Islamic culture is expected to be a significant factor for some Russians to visit Iran, Malofeev told ILNA in an interview published on Wednesday.

In response to a question about the impact of Western sanctions on Russia that could lead Russian travelers to new destinations such as Iran, he said: “As far as I’m concerned, Russian tourists continue to travel to European countries and even sanctions have not been able to stop their trips and they even go to European destinations through other routes.”

In fact, [many] Russian travelers still chose European countries for traveling, but there have been new markets and routes being added to the favorites of the Russian people. And Iran is among those new destinations, Malofeev explained.

Regarding Russian tourists' awareness of Iran as an emerging destination, Malofiov said: “My opinion is that although we are now witnessing the development and expansion of relations between the two countries, that caution still exists among many Russians whether it is possible to travel to these new countries or not.”

This caution is always there. However, Iran is expected to become an accretive destination for Russians due to its rich culture, location, and rich nature that varies from mountains and plains to deserts and seas, he added.

Earlier this year, Mehr reported that Russian tourists were increasingly choosing Iran as a vacation destination these days. Mehr reported earlier this year. “There has been a surge of Russian tourists in Iran as a result of international sanctions against Russia.” This has prompted Russian tourists to visit Asia and the Middle East instead, especially Iran. This is due to the visa waiver between Iran and Russia that has increased for Russian tourists visiting Iran, Mehr reported.

In addition, the number of Iranian passengers visiting Russia has been on the rise, Russian tourism expert Yulia Syundyukova said in February.

After Turkey and India, Iran is [currently] the third tourism source for Russia as a greater number of its nationals choose the country as their travel destination, Syundyukova was quoted by ISNA as saying.

“We see a lot of potential in Iran. A statistical comparison between 2021 and 2022 shows that in 2021, the number of Iranian tourists in Russia was not high, but in 2022, it reached about 20,500. This number is significant,” said Syundyukova, who presides over a Moscow department for interaction with the foreign tourism industry.

Talking about a previously inked visa-waiver agreement between Tehran and Moscow, Syundyukova said: “We are constantly trying to talk to our colleagues in this regard, and we will do our best to implement this agreement as soon as possible.”

The agreement was initially signed by former Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in 2017.

“We predict that with the cancellation of visas for group trips, the number of tourists will double to triple,” she said.

The Head of the Iranian Tour Operators Association Ebrahim Pourfaraj believes 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 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.”

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 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


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