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Ebrahim Pourfaraj told “Attracting tourists needs to be present among people and introducing Iran to the Russian society.”
“The fact is that Iran’s political and economic relations with Russia are considered as good, but this has nothing to do with attracting tourists because it is directly connected with the Russian people. It is the Russian people who must choose Iran as their destination,” he explained.
Iran is scheduled to participate in the International Trade Fair for Tourism & Travel, which will be held in Moscow from September 10 to 12. “Such an event opens up a suitable opportunity to highlight Iran’s attractions among Russian people,” Pourfaraj said.
“In the past years, government officials in charge of tourism have attempted to establish tourism links between Iran and Russia, but [their plans] have failed because [a majority of potential] Russian travelers do not know Iran.”
“If they knew Iran, they would definitely have traveled to our country. During these years we saw thousands of Russian tourists traveling to Turkey but not coming to Iran.”
In June 2017, Iran tourism body emphasized the need to achieve a reasonable balance in the two-way tourist exchange with Russia. In the same year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin inked a visa-free agreement for certain tourist groups. Based on the agreement tour groups of 5 to 50 people heading to Russia from Iran or vice versa are granted a visa-free stay of up to 15 days.
The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.
Iran boasts hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.