Iran, Turkey to consider passport-free travels  

February 15, 2021 - 22:49

TEHRAN – A joint technical committee for tourism cooperation between Iran and Turkey has recently formulated a plan which reportedly could pave the way for bilateral passport-free travels.

The proposal is to be discussed in detail by the tourism authorities of the two countries, ISNA reported on Monday.

Turkey was among the top ten countries with the most arrivals in Iran during the [Iranian calendar] year 1398 [Mar. 2019 – Mar. 2020], according to data compiled by Iran’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

Some Iranian travel experts emphasize the need to attain a balance in tourist flow rates between the two nations, saying the Islamic Republic should reach a balance with Turkey in the movement of tourist flow.

Last year, Iranian travel agencies introduced a plan to offer stimulus packages and hold familiarization tours for Turkish agencies, tour operators, journalists, and influencers in a bid to attract more travelers from the neighboring country.

“Iran will be organizing familiarization tours for about 100 Turkish tourism agencies after the [complete] reopening of joint borders and resuming [mutual] tourist relations,” according to Mehdi Rezaei, the secretary of the Turkey consortium at the Association of Iranian Travel Agents.

“Fam tours had been planned for Turkish [travel] agencies and media for a period before the virus pandemic. Unfortunately, at the outset of the outbreak, the tours were postponed to another time when mutual travels are resumed.”

“We must go to the heart of Turkey and introduce our country to them. In Iran, there are places that Turks wish to visit, such as the shrines in Neyshabour and Kashan. Many Turks are familiar with Iranian literature and poets, and Hafez’s poems are etched in the memory of many of them. We must develop these capacities.”

The spread of the novel coronavirus has plunged the travel and tourism industry and economy in the global scene over the past couple of months as passenger traffic on airlines and hotel occupancy rates have fallen off a cliff compared to the same periods in previous years.