People, Travel

Spanish Tour Co. Mulling Direct Tehran Flights

Spanish Tour Co. Mulling Direct Tehran FlightsSpanish Tour Co. Mulling Direct Tehran Flights

A Spanish tour operator is planning to launch direct flights between Tehran and three Spanish cities next summer to expand bilateral tourism.

Speaking to the Spanish news agency EFE in Tehran, Svetlana Taranina, director of Terramar Tours, said her company plans to start direct flights between Barcelona, Madrid and Malaga and the Iranian capital.

“We want to have two weekly flights to Barcelona and one to Madrid and Malaga, offering beach and cultural destinations. In principle it will be irregular, but the ultimate goal is to have regular flights,” she said.

Terramar is looking to open the way for Iranian tourists in Spain with the establishment of direct flights and packages designed specifically for the “unexplored” Persian market, to compensate for the drop in Russian arrivals.

The company is following in the footsteps of Destinia, a Spain-based online travel agency that, as reported by the Financial Tribune, became the first European tour operator to claim a stake in Iran’s emerging travel market.

A high-level Spanish delegation led by Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo and Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria met with their Iranian counterparts in Tehran in September and expressed interest in expanding tourism ties, including financing hotel projects.

“We are ready to invest in 300 hotel projects,” Soria said at the time, adding that Spanish companies are eying Iran and its gradually emerging travel industry.

Spain’s Melia Hotels International in summer had announced interest in the Iranian market, Gulf News reported. Maria Zarraluqui, managing director for global development at Melia, said the huge demand for more hotels in Iran has not been met.

 “We know that Iran faces challenges because it’s closed to international markets, but we see the potential. We see that there is huge internal demand that is not well met at the moment. So Iran is a market we would like to explore,” she said.

According to Zarraluqui, Melia Hotels is interested in introducing to Iran its midscale brand Innside, and its upper upscale brand Melia.