Iran Doostan tour CEO, Mohammad Ali Ashraf Vaghefi, had an interview with ILNA News recently about the state of tourism and incoming tours to Iran. In his interview Mr. Vaghefi said; fortunately, we have witnessed a noticeable demand from international tourists in Iran since Iran has started to grant visa to international tourists. However, there has been a decline in requests due to the spread of the Omicron variant and the negative news in this regard.
He continued: “A number of tourists have canceled their trip to Iran and postponed it to another time.” He added, there have been groups of tourists who wanted to come, but had to cancel their trip because of the positive COVID test of some members of the group. Therefore, the arrival of international tourists to Iran has slowed down to some extent and most of them have postponed their travel to mid-April. Fortunately, there are a good number of tour reservations for May and June.
Mr. Vaghefi emphasized that although it is said that we expect more tours after Nowruz, there is still a long way to reach the number of tourists we had before the Covid 19 outbreak. There will be no large group of tourists in Iran, like 20 to 30. Instead, we expect smaller groups of 5 to 15 people.
Mr. Vaghefi stated that most of the tourists who intend to travel to Iran are from European countries, and there is a higher demand in the European market. In the meanwhile, the requests are mainly targeting classic cultural destinations in Iran. However, there seems to be a change in the demands, in a way that more international tourists are seeking experimental tourism and eco-tourism in Iran. He highlighted that middle-aged tourists are still the dominant group traveling to Iran, yet with a different taste regarding their favorite destinations and type of experience. As mentioned before, we are witnessing more tourists with a preference towards experimental and nature tourism.
Regarding the recent changes in the price of tours in Iran, Mr. Vaghefi said: “Considering the inflation in Iran’s economy, we are witnessing an increase in prices in various sectors, including accommodation and food, and the exchange rate has also increased significantly. Therefore, tour operators are allowed to increase their package prices up to 4-5 per cent, which is quite common around the world. Considering the unreasonable increase in prices in the past years which was mostly objected by our international partners, this is considered a positive change.