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A group of Instagram influencers with some 16 million followers in total are visiting Iran on a Famtrip (familiarization trip) organized by Iranian globetrotter Hoda Rostami, a social media influencer trying her best to offer the fascinating image of Iran to the world and encourage foreign tourists to discover Iran.
What comes to the mind of a travel agent when hearing the term Famrip is normally an exclusive program, including seminars and meetings, organized by tour operators to market their services and maximize profits.
But for Hoda Rostami, a Famtrip has become her new way to introduce Iran and its beauties to a world of social networks.
The Iranian girl, known as an Instagram influencer with over 400,000 followers blogging about tourist attractions, could finally carry out her Famtrip project after a year of planning and tireless efforts. Hoda’s goal is to change the wrong image of Iran that people in the world may have in mind and to pave the way for more tourists to visit the country. In the first phase of her Famtrip project, 12 influencers from around the world have arrived in Iran.
“Born in Tehran, nomadic life in world,” Hoda explains herself in her Instagram page. She has been travelling around the world for years and sharing her experiences with her followers.
Hoda and her family emigrated to Sweden when she was a teenager. She decided to leave MSc courses in the final semester to begin her new career as a traveller and photographer. Rostami now lives in Iran and is independently involved in activities to promote Iran’s tourism industry. She has invited the international tourism ambassadors to visit Iran in a self-planned Famtrip aimed at presenting the true image of Iran to the world.
Hoda provides more description of the Famtrip on her Instagram page:
“This Famtrip is not indeed a project organized by a travel agency for attracting fifteen foreign tourists to make a profit. In fact, the Famtrip is a result of months of planning and research by experienced people in the tourism industry and sustainable development of tourism, familiar with Iran. It is supposed to help create a new image of Iran in the minds of people across the world, shape dreams and goals before visiting a country named Iran, and encourage the tourists to come to Iran and discover all of its cities and unknown places.”
During the first phase of the project, Hoda takes her guests to Kashan, Isfahan and Shiraz. She says the itinerary includes a well-known route with stops in famous cities. “That’s because it is a well-known journey route with hotels meetings international standards and appropriate infrastructure for the tourism ambassadors in Iran. These tourism ambassadors, who are major influencers in this sector, take photos and shoot videos of the attractions, publish them on the social networks, and will help change the cliché image of what people in the world think about Iran. It could build trust and eventually encourage them to visit Iran to discover the other places.”
The first stage of Hoda’s Famtrip began with 12 influencers, starting from Tehran.
Rostami says the tourism ambassadors are going to become acquainted with the Iranian culture and traditions apart from sightseeing in the cities. “We decided to plan a modern-day (visit to) Tehran for them to surprise them both upon arrival and during the rest of the journey with the beauties of the cities along the Silk Road inside Iran.”
The trip begins from Tehran and heads due south to Kashan, after a stop in Qom to visit the confectionary shops producing Sohan -a traditional Persian saffron brittle toffee.
Kashan is where foreigners will remember their first encounter with the desert and its houses with traditional designs, Rostami explained, saying the group of ambassadors would stay in a typical Iranian house in the desert areas to enjoy supper in a delightful evening at the watered yard of the house.
“We and a young meal planner, with exquisite taste and great cooking skills, designed the meals for the entire Famtrip. We’re going to set such tables for them that would be indelibly imprinted on their photos,” Hoda said.
On how she came up with the idea of arranging the Famtrip, Rostami said in her Instagram page, “Last year, I was in Turkey’s Çanakkale with a group of trip influencers from various countries. We talked about our countries, and, as usual, they asked about Iran, and I told them ‘I’d invite you soon…’. I did not imagine that the very same invitation and idea would become the Famtrip project a year later.”
In order to attract financing for the project and buckle down to work, Hoda Rostami came up with a plan to design and sell a “Travel Book” at her office, called “Ro Studio”. A non-Iranian airline has agreed to sponsor the flights for the Famtrip.
“The Travel Book is a functional planner accompanying you from the time you begin to plan a trip until you return home,” she says.
Rostami noted that a long list of world renowned influencers and travel photographers had been compiled in the beginning, while a final list of 15 people with a combined total of 16 million followers was chosen for the visit to Iran.