People, Travel

Record Number of Iranians Visited Russia in 2015

Record Number of Iranians Visited Russia in 2015Record Number of Iranians Visited Russia in 2015

Roughly 35,000 Iranians traveled to Russia in 2015, making Iran a top 20 source country for tourists visiting Russia, according to Moscow’s ambassador in Tehran.

“Last year, the Russian diplomatic mission in Iran issued about 35,000 visas, mostly travel, to Iranian citizens. In addition, for the first time, Iran entered the top 20 countries by number of tourists visiting Russia,” Levan Dzhagaryan told RT.

The figure signifies a rise of more than 110% compared to the previous year and the diplomat believes “it is safe to say” the record will be broken again this year.

Only about 25,000 Russians visit Iran every year, which is considerably low and Dzhagaryan hopes it will soon change.

“I can personally recommend [visiting] the cities of Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd that have preserved monuments of ancient Persian civilization in good condition,” he said.

Maya Lomidze, the executive director of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia, has said Iran “has the potential to draw 100,000 Russians every year”, but has also pointed out a lack of familiarity with Iran’s culture and tourism potential as the main factor preventing more Russians from traveling to the country.

Iran and Russia relaxed visa procedures last year with an eye toward waiving visa requirements altogether.

Morteza Rahmani Movahed, the tourism deputy at the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, has said the two countries could abolish the visa regime “within a week” if Russia agreed on a mutual political decision.

Russia has already suggested reciprocal waiving of visa requirements with Iran for organized tours.

Iran and Russia have agreed to set up what they call “tourism development offices” in the two states to expand tourism ties.