By Afshin Majlesi

Spark your wanderlust: how influencers can help?

October 12, 2019

In the current fast-paced realm of advertising and marketing, travel influencers have changed the whole game as they have succeeded to materialize a totally new and self-directed channels to reach audiences in a more authentic and personal way, even influencing to shape their wanderlusts.

We can say that the Instagram has backtracked old-school manners of travel advertising campaigns. Well-traveled influencers induce their avid followers to win sparking their wanderlusts by the means of the photo-sharing platform that enables sharing of wonderful moments and wandering adventures of their journeys.

Many believe that the Instagram has drastically changed the way people, especially the youth, travel, and it’s undoubtedly not all for the better. The trend, however, has its own harms, for instance, it may lead to overtourism, a relativity new term that you may cannot look it up in many dictionaries.

That’s why Iran’s tourism ministry has started to make the best use of new technologies in order to portray a true image of the country based on what travelers and influencers perceive during their visits to the country.

But, how does it work for Iran? It’s noteworthy to remind that Iran has been under U.S. sanctions and its anti-Iran propaganda for around four decades. Some Western media outlets have long tried to portray Iran’s global image as unsafe, unwelcoming and so on.

As an example, some of their messages carry themes from U.S. State Department’s travel advisory against Iran, which since 1979, warns about “the risk of kidnapping, arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.”

On the contrary, when you refer to people who have visited the country or even you read their travelogues on Iran, you usually perceive that Iranians are described as warm, friendly and eager to show off their country to foreigners. Moreover, almost all international tour operators and travel agents have the same attitude towards the country and its people.

The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.

Tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on Thursday that the ministry supports certain the Instagram influencers to travel to the country.

“Instagram influencers’ trips to Iran are backed by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts and, in the advertising arena, we do a lot of work to fight Iranophobia and introduce the true face of Iran,” Mounesan said.

“One of the areas [in travel & tourism advertising] is to bring famous figures to Iran, get the country known to them in terms of its rich culture, beautiful natural landscapes and historical monuments…this is part of programs to introduce the country that we will definitely continue.”

With over one billion active monthly users, it seems reasonable that the Instagram has enough power to set new trends on traveling to a country that boasts hospitable people and some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, gardens, rich natural, rural landscapes and 22 UNESCO World Heritage sites to name a few.

AFM/MG