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Numerous Travel Agencies In Iran, Few Tourists, What's the Problem?

Despite the high number of travel agencies active in Iran, the low number of incoming tourists is proof of their inefficiency.

Tehran, 24 October 2005 (CHN) - More than 2000 tour and travel agencies are active in Iran, 700 of which are located in Tehran and the rest are spotted throughout different provinces. Of these, only 700 are members of Iran's Tour Agencies Association.

Meanwhile, despite the great number of these tour agencies, the number of incoming tourists to Iran is very low. Statistics depict of a total number of 700,000 incoming tourists for 1383 (2004-2005), meaning that every single tour agency has in average brought in only 350 tourists to Iran.

Compared to Malaysia, where only 199 travel agencies could attract, in 2004, 16 million tourists, i.e. 3.5 millions tourists for every tour agency, Iranian tour agencies seem to be major failures. This is while Iran is one of the 10 top countries of the world with regard to enjoying potentials for attracting tourists.

"The obstacles against attracting foreign tourists are numerous," says Keyvan Bayani, head of the directorate of Patris Tour Agency, "but the main problems are the slow pace Iran has adopted in effacing the dark images overshadowing its economy, culture, and tourism throughout the years, and the weakness of public and private sectors in advertising the attractions of the country. While almost all countries broadcast tourist advertisements in notable TV channels, Iran has so far released few programs only in 3 channels."

Ibrahim Pourfaraj, head of Iran's Tourleaders Association, agrees with the inefficiencies of tourism advertisement, "while other countries use numerous media programs for attracting tourists, Iranian efforts for advertisement through posters and brochures will not be efficient."

Experts believe that besides the mentioned problems, the main obstacle against Iranian tour agencies' success is their being unprofessional in a world of professionalism and competitions. Spotting and introducing special attractions of Iran can be the first strategic step in changing the current situation, to introduce goal-oriented special tours to Iran, and to grasp the goal of using the country's tourism potentials to the fullest.

"Nowhere in the world, except in Iran, can you find snow-covered region for skiing just several miles from the middle of the desert where you have spent hours camel riding," says Bayani, mentioning the climate diversity in Iran as a great advantage to the tourism of the country.

... Payvand News - 10/26/05 ... --

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