Iran provides foreign travelers with guideline booklet: tourism chief

November 10, 2015

TEHRAN -- Iran provides foreign travelers with a booklet, which includes guidelines for social behavior and codes of attire observed in the country, the head of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicraft Organization, Masoud Soltanifar, announced.

Entitled “Hamrah Safar”, which literally means ‘travel companion’, the booklet will be available at Iran’s embassies through the world, he said.

Obeying Islamic dress-code is necessary in Iran especially for women. Consumption of pork products and alcoholic drinks are also forbidden and their import is illegal.

Iran’s Tourism industry witness 12% growth since last two year, Soltanifar said during a meeting with Iran’s ambassadors to other countries on Saturday evening.

It is the beginning of a boom in tourism industry, which flourished after historic agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, he added.

“About 900 tourism projects are currently underway in different parts of Iran and we believe that this industry boost economical situation of Iran as well,” he said.

Iran’s Bank Sepah and Bank Melli already provide tourist cards for foreign tourists so they do not need to carry cash with them anymore, he said.

International credit and debit cards cannot be used in Iran so far. However ATM cards are chargeable up to 5000 dollars and the travel agencies and airlines can request for issuing the card from country of origin.

“Iran’s on-arrival visa validity has been extended from 14 days to 30 days during past months,” Soltanifar added.

The 30-day validity can also be extended for another 15 days once a tourist enters the country.

Previously only Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA), Tehran Mehrabad Airport (THR), Mashad Airport (MHD), Shiraz Airport (SYZ), Tabriz Airport (TBZ) and Isfahan Airport (ISF) were allowed to issue visa on arrival.
But now all Iranian airports located near borders are also allowed to issue visas for citizens of 190 countries.

He said that the government plan to facilitate the process for issuing visa and plan to build more hotels and increase the number of tourist information offices in other countries to attract more foreign tourists to Iran.

These are examples of measures taken to facilitate tourist visits to Iran in the wake of political developments in Iran’s international relations, he said.

French leisure group Accor is to open two best known chains – Ibis and Novotel – at Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Arab hoteliers have also funded in a number of projects in the Islamic Republic especially in religious cities like Mashhad.

The official had previously said that the number of foreign tourist arrivals grew 75% during the Iranian calendar year 1393, which ended on March 21, 2015.

Iran announced that many foreign tourists from different countries of Europe, Africa as well as U.S. and Australia visited the country during the past year.

In light of the reduction in inflation rate in Iran, the country is a low-priced destination for foreign tourists.

Iran made it onto the top destination lists of major publications such as The Financial Times and The Guardian last year thanks to sights that include 2,500-year-old ruins at Persepolis near Shiraz and 16th-century Islamic architectural gems in Isfahan.

Iran is home to some of the world’s most magnificent historical and archaeological sites. Relics of a proud ancient civilization include: Persepolis, the capital of the largest empire that the world has ever seen; the city of Isfahan; Shiraz, the city of love and poetry; and Hamadan, where Avicenna, the father of early modern medicine, is buried.

UNESCO has declared 16 world heritage sites in Iran, which was historically referred to as Persia in the West until the 20th century.

PHOTO: Tourists at the Tachara Palace in Persepolis (Behruz Mehri/Getty Images)