People, Travel

Substandard Tehran Travel Agencies Lose Permits

Substandard Tehran Travel Agencies Lose PermitsSubstandard Tehran Travel Agencies Lose Permits

In a bid to enhance the quality of services offered by travel agencies, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization voided or suspended the permits of 73 travel agencies in Tehran Province for offering substandard services and canceled 200 tours over failure to meet the organization’s standards in the last Iranian year (ended March 19, 2016).

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Rajabali Khosroabadi, the head of Tehran’s ICHHTO, said the figures are “acceptable”.

“The rise in the number of legal action against tour agencies is not a matter of honor but ICHHTO is committed to ensure that tour operators meet their legal obligations,” he said.

The official added that a commission tasked with investigating claims of misconduct by travel agencies has been formed at the organization.

“If the claims prove to be true, offending travel agencies will be punished with no leniency,” said Khosroabadi, stressing that the organization’s response time to violations has significantly accelerated following ICHHTO’s recent measures to remove bureaucratic hurdles.

The official added that the main targets of the commission are agents that promise high-quality services, but fail to offer them after the contract has been signed.

Currently, over 1,800 tour and travel companies operate in Tehran, which may seem like a large number but given the city’s population of 12 million, it makes sense.

“A lot of travel agencies are needed to cater to the needs of Tehran’s residents, so we cannot afford not to issue permits,” he said. “But the large number of tour operators doesn’t mean people receive the services they deserve, so we have to diligently monitor their activities.”

Lamenting the lack of people working for the organization, Khosroabadi said the current staff has to double their efforts to ensure travel agencies’ compliance with regulations.

“The extra effort and strict supervision have led to a palpable increase in service quality compared to past years,” he said.