Can Iran fill the void for Russian tourists?

Likelihood of tourism growth as sanctions lift
Even as EU, UN and US sanctions are historically lifted, announced over the weekend, Russia and Iran are already seeing far more of each other’s visitors as the two countries quickly improve ties.
Last Thursday, a delegation of tourism and culture officials from Iran arrived in Moscow to discuss cooperation with Rostourism, Russia’s state tourism agency.
Russia saw 34,000 Iranian tourists in the first nine months of 2015, more than double the number in the same period the previous year. Both sides are opening tourism offices in each other’s countries. Now there are plans for visa-free travel.
Mortaza Rahmani Movahed told Radio Sputnik that Iran could even fill the void Russia’s tourism industry is experiencing due to the sudden worsening of ties with Egypt and Turkey.
“Russian tourists are welcome to come any time of year and enjoy any kind of service they possibly need. We carefully study the Russians’ mentality and tastes and will try to offer them the very best service money can buy.”
He added: “There are many beautiful places in Russia and Iran that tourists could visit and I hope that, with the visa regime lifted, there will be more tourist exchanges between our two countries. […] Today we invited the heads of Russia’s leading tour companies to come to Iran and see for themselves what we can do to have more Russian tourists travelling to our country and Iranians to Russia.”
Rostourism head Oleg Safonov agreed that Iran was one of the safest places for Russian tourists and that Russia was ready for closer ties. Iranian carrier Mahan Air will launch flights between Moscow and Tehran on January 21. Iran has a long coastline alongside the Persian Gulf in the south and the Caspian Sea in the north.
Sputnik News


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