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Foreign tour operators, travel marketers astonished by safe, modern Iran

12/11/19

Source: Tehran Times

TEHRAN - International tour operators and travel marketers, who have recently made a familiarization tour across Iran, are astonished by seeing a country that is far more safe and modern than that they previously thought. A weeklong Famtrip organized by an Iranian tour operator brought 17 travelers from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Turkey, Peru and China.

"Iran is more modern, cleaner and even quieter than what the media picture," ISNA quoted one of the travelers as saying on Monday.

Julian, the representative a Spanish travel agency, reminded recent remonstrations in Iran to saying that protests are not unusual in the world as Spain, France and even Lebanon have experienced protests.

"We all continue life and the tourists are still coming."

Joao, who presides over a Portuguese travel agency, said to ISNA, "I am in Iran, and my clients are surprised that I have traveled to such a country. They constantly ask me about the safety in here. I have sent some videos from the [Iranian] streets and people to show that everything is safe but they hardly believed that."

Saeid Fekri, organizer of the Famtrip, noted that 30 people were initially invited to take part in the event, but some of them preferred to exercise caution and postponed their trips, so that 17 people took part in the Famtrip ultimately.

"From the hotels to the restaurants, Iran was beyond the group's expectations. They did not think Iran to only have a modern city or a single modern hotel."

Almost everything was incredible for them. Even about news of the unrest that they had heard, they asked where this was happening in such a way that everything is so calm now, Fekri explained.

"This seemed even strange to their clients how managers of travel agencies could go to Iran under so-called circumstance."

Deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri said in October, "We need a good image of Iran to be displayed by the world media, thus, we would pursue any method perceived to be easy or less costly in compliance with the Islamic Republic of Iran's regulations."

"We do our best to create a good image of Iran in the minds of the world people," he noted.

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.

Some 6.7 million foreign nationals have visited the country since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year, Mojtaba Karimi, who presides over Foreign Ministry's visa and passport department, was quoted by IRNA as saying on December 4.

Iran welcomed some 7.8 million foreign nationals last year, achieving 52.5 percent increase year on year. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran in 2018, constituting 24% of all inbound visitors. Azerbaijan with (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%) constituted other major sources while the remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots, including 22 ones that have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


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