People, Travel

Le Figaro: Nuclear Accord Boon for Travel Agencies

Le Figaro: Nuclear Accord Boon for Travel AgenciesLe Figaro: Nuclear Accord Boon for Travel Agencies

French daily Le Figaro has labeled the historic nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers a “boon for travel agencies”.

In a report titled “Iran Back on Travel Brochures” published online on Saturday, the report points to the nuclear accord and says the lifting of sanctions against Iran will open up new destinations for the global tour operators.

“From the beaches of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea to the ski slopes of the Alborz Mountains, Iran offers a wide range of recreational attractions waiting to be discovered,” the report reads.

  Travel Agents Getting Ready

The report says a number of French travel agencies are already making plans to offer Iran tours, as requests to visit the country are rising.

Travel group Nouvelles Frontieres predicts Iran will be among “top destinations next season” and will add Iran to its travel catalogues from September.

Intermedes, a French travel agency, reports a fivefold increase in the number of tourists eager to visit Iran in 2015, and says avid travelers have “a strong passion” for Iran.

Most travelers drawn to Iran cite the urge “to travel to an unusual destination” as the reason.

The report quotes an unnamed traveler as saying, “We want to learn about Iran beyond what we hear on the news.”

Travel agencies divide tourists into two categories: the classic tourist eager to discover a new country and business tourists who take advantage of family trips to spot investment opportunities in Iran.

“Like Greece, Iran has been trying to develop its tourism industry for years,” says Thierry Coville, an Iran specialist. “The infrastructure is underdeveloped and there is a lack of large international hotels. However, there is a multitude of affordable lodging facilities.”

Karim Pakzad, a research fellow at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, predicts tourism will become Iran’s “third main source of revenue, behind oil and gas”.

The report acknowledges that tourism will take a few years to become a major industry in Iran, since major credit cards are useless due to economic sanctions.

“However, obtaining a visa is easy as it is issued at the airport on arrival,” the report says.

On Saturday, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office revoked a travel advisory it had in place against Iran since 2011.

“We believe that in Iran the risk to British nationals has changed, in part due to decreasing hostility under President [Hassan] Rouhani’s government,” British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond said in a statement.