Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

Is Iran the next holiday hotspot?

Iran has the potential to be the next must-see destination in the world, thanks to its unique culture and heritage, a new report has unveiled.

According to the WTM Global Trends Report 2015 by Euromonitor International, a leading research firm, diplomatic relations between the US and Iran have thawed and the recent lifting of sanctions has sparked a scramble to open the country up to visitors.

The country looks set to exploit its ancient Persian history, 19 World Heritage Sites, and more unlikely tourism attractions such as 19 ski resorts, and opportunities for mountain climbing and bird-watching, the report said.

The WTM Global Trends Report 2015 by Euromonitor International, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary at WTM London 2015, reveals the Iranian government has already taken steps to boost tourism by enabling many nationalities, such as French, German and Russian, to obtain a visa upon arrival.

Iran is hoping for an economic boost from tourism following the recent nuclear deal with the West. As Reuters journalist Hayley Platt reports the country bought its biggest delegation yet to the World Travel Market (WTM) in London to drum up business and investment.

 The UAE-based Rotana Hotel Group has a brand aimed at Muslim travellers – Rayhaan Hotel and Resorts – and the company is preparing for four properties to open in Tehran and Mashhad by 2018.

“With the lifting of sanctions, we are sure that all developers and operators will be racing to secure their position in one of the world’s largest untapped markets,” said Omer Kaddouri, Rotana’s president and chief executive.

However, the report highlights hurdles to tourism developments, saying: “The years of international isolation have left the tourism infrastructure in need of major investment.”

Banking processes are a key area of reform as online or credit card payments are virtually impossible inside Iran.

“There is a lingering threat of violence and instability in the country, and safety and security will need to be a priority if international tourism is to grow in Iran.”

Caroline Bremner, head of Travel at Euromonitor International, said: “Tourists on religious, historical or nature trips accounted for an estimated 90 per cent of the annual five million international arrivals to the country in 2014.”

According to Euromonitor data, current visitors to Iran are mainly sourced from neighbouring countries, with 1.65 million Iraqi’s visiting in 2014.

“There is certainly pent-up demand to visit Iran, and it is centrally located with good air links to Africa, Europe and Asia – so we expect those tourist numbers to boom,” Bremner said.

Source: TradeArabia News Service

Above pic desciption: Iranian girls take a break from skiing at the Shemshak ski resort about 35 miles from Tehran. Shemshak and Dizin, situated in the Alborz mountain range close to the capital, are favourite getaways for wealthy Tehranis during the winter and spring months

Photograph: Damir Sagolj/Damir Sagolj/Reuters/Corbis

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