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Visiting Iran, A New Chance to Get Rid of Misconceptions


Just like many other foreign tourists, the two Malaysian journalists who recently came to Iran believe that Iran is very different from what they had heard about it before their visits.

Tehran, 23 July 2006 (CHN) -- June Ramli and Tan Wei Tee, two young Malaysian journalists came to Iran last week accompanying the Malaysian Minister of Tourism in his visit to Iran which was aimed at expanding tourism relations between the two countries.

During a visit to CHN, Ramli and Wei Tee had a friendly talk with the journalists of CHN news desk in which the two sides exchanged their views and information about the tourism situation of their country. One thing that came as a surprise for these journalists was to see the active role of women in the working environments of the Iranian society.

"My imagination before coming to Iran was quite different with what I am faced with today. When I decided to come to Iran, many of my friends and my family asked me to change my mind about traveling to Iran and told me it may be a dangerous trip. However, now I'm in Tehran, and I see how much the Iranian people are kind and warm. They are also very active and cheerful. You do not feel alone in the streets even at nights because they are always full of people who want to enjoy themselves in the parks until midnight. Tehran is absolutely a live city," said Ramli, journalist of New Straits Times Sdn Berhad in Kuala Lumpur.

Wei Tee believed that Iran has a lot of attractions for tourists which have not been introduced properly. He also said that most of what people in other countries including Malaysia think about Iran and the life in it are under the influence of the western media which reflect a rowdy picture of Iran heated mostly by its nuclear programs.

"Malaysians are familiar with pictures of Persepolis historical site in Fars province and the attractions of city of Isfahan. These two places are the most important known places in Iran which the Malaysians like to visit, but the problem is that they are somehow afraid of the consequences of traveling to Iran. Besides, the other main problem is that they do not know how they can come to Iran. These are not unsolvable problems. Iranians should present and introduce themselves and their tourism potentials in the world market to be able to attract more tourists," said Wei Tee, reporter of Sin Chew Daily in Selangor, the Chinese section of Malaysia.

Both these reporters believed that Iran has many attractions for Malaysians and with an appropriate planning it can change into one of the main tourism destinations for the Malaysian tourists. "Malaysians are not unfamiliar with Iran. The got to know Iran better after the Bam earthquake maybe because for the first time they got familiar with a different aspect of Iran, and they wanted to share their grief with their Iranian sisters and brothers through collecting humanitarian aids and sending them to Iran. Besides, they are familiar with Iranian delicious foods. A branch of Iran's Nayeb restaurant exists in Kuala Lumpur which is very popular for the Malaysian people," said Ramli.

Enjoying various tourism qualifications appropriate for all tastes and all age groups, including beautiful islands with desirable beaches, wonderful natural sites, modern shopping centers and restaurants, etc., Ramli said that Malaysia is ready to welcome Iranian tourists through providing them with different tourism facilities as they wish just like what Malaysia has done with their Arab tourists.

"After September 11, the number of Arab tourists to Malaysia shows a considerable increase due to some difficulties they have in traveling to European countries such as obtaining visas. Therefore, Malaysia succeeded in attracting a large number of Arab tourists by providing them desirable tourism facilities. For example, we have a street in Kuala Lumpur which is called Arab Street in which the tourists can feel themselves in an Arabian atmosphere and be welcomed by Arabian restaurants. Or for example despite the fact that regularly the stores are closed at 10 pm, since we are aware of the endless interest of Arabs for shopping and the fact that they like to go shopping at midnight, we left the shopping centers open for them all night long. Malaysia will do its best to guarantee satisfaction of its tourists," said Ramli.

At the end, Ramli and Wei Tee both emphasized the shared cultural and religious characteristics of Iran and Malaysia and said it could be used as a means for further tourism relations between the two countries which would in turn lead to a better cultural interaction as well.

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