Russian tourists eager to visit Iran: expert

May 17, 2021 - 18:4

TEHRAN – Many Russian tourists are eager to travel to Iran, an Iranian travel expert said on Monday, 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,” said Mostafa Sarvari who presides over the tourism marketing and advertising office of the Iranian Tour Operators Association.

He quoted the idea from a host of Russian tourism insiders, ISNA reported.  

“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.”

Sarvari even believes that if visas for travel groups are waived between the two countries, Iran would be the winner; because more Russians will travel to the Islamic Republic.

Visa-free travel for group tours between Iran and Russia could proffer equal conditions for both nations, according to Mohammad Qasemi, the director for marketing and advertising at the ministry of tourism. “This agreement provides equal conditions for both sides, now it is the private sector effort of the two countries as well as the approach of the nominated agencies, which determines which side will benefit from this exchange.”

Head of the Iranian Tour Operators Association Ebrahim Pourfaraj said last year that new rounds of negotiations were commenced 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.”

According to Pourfaraj, the majority of potential Russian travelers are unaware of 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.”

In 2017, President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin inked a visa-free agreement for tourist groups. The agreement, however, seems to be implemented in the near future as a joint technical committee on Wednesday reached an initial agreement in this regard.

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 24 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.