Iran tourism has potential but change needed first

Iran unlikely to take over from Turkey anytime soon
A lot of excitement is being generated by Iran opening up to investment in sectors such as tourism. As previously reported, much of this is coming from the millennial generation with travel being arranged on a one-to-one basis via social media. But the government’s eagerness for mass tourism is unlikely to go down well, among western tourists at least, unless certain basic changes are made.
Tourism has become so popular in the Rouhani administration that ministers are signing visa-waiver schemes with several countries in the region. Air France has launched flights to Tehran and British Airways will start to fly there in July. The Iranian Tourism Association estimates the country has already earned $6 billion in added revenue from foreign visitors.
But Iran isn’t Turkey – and won’t be anytime soon. Iranian tour operators, airlines and hotels are not yet able to accept payment by international cards. Visitors are expected to conform to Islamic Sharia laws, and for women the hijab is mandatory. There is a ban on bikinis, and all bars in the country closed 37 years ago.
bne IntelliNews


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