People, Travel

Iran Demand Rises After UK Revokes Travel Advisory

Iran Demand Rises After UK Revokes Travel AdvisoryIran Demand Rises After UK Revokes Travel Advisory

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office lifted a travel advisory against Iran earlier this week, following the historic agreement between Iran and P5+1 that ended a 12-year nuclear standoff.

The news bodes well for British travel agencies, which were looking forward to the lifting of the advisory.

David McGuiness, director of tour operator Travel The Unknown, told Trade Travel Gazette  he expected the change in FCO’s advice to have “major implications for [Iran’s] tourism industry”.

“Firstly for UK clients, in terms of insurance (which had previously been somewhat difficult to arrange), and ultimately it will make it easier for people to travel to Iran,” he said.

“On the back of the recent nuclear deal, this news is very much welcome as Iran is a very safe destination, and now that diplomatic relations are slowly being restored we feel many more people will take the opportunity to visit this amazing country teeming with historic and archeological treasures as well as a hospitality that is unparalleled.

“The hope now is that embassies will reopen in full before long—there is plenty of evidence that this is in process—making the visa process simpler too, and then the next step will be hopefully a wider selection of flight options.”

McGuiness said tourist numbers for Iran for his company were already up around 1,000% compared with 2013.

“We have had a steady flow of clients 2014 to 2015 but that is beginning to increase now, and our Iran enquiries have gone through the roof over the past week (since the deal and the positive media coverage this has generated) so we certainly expect to fill more tours, and to have more people do private and tailor-made itineraries in the latter part of 2015 and into 2016,” he said.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said last week that he hoped to reopen the British Embassy in Tehran before the end of the year, which is also expected to facilitate leisure visits to Iran.