People, Travel

Crackdown on Tehran Travel Agencies

Crackdown on Tehran Travel AgenciesCrackdown on Tehran Travel Agencies

The provincial office of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has revoked the licenses of 27 travel agencies and suspended those of 22 others in Tehran Province over the past two months.

“The agencies have had their permits revoked or suspended for a variety of reasons, including disciplinary violations, substandard services, unqualified directors and technical managers, or failure to renew their licenses,” Ali Rafiei, tourism deputy at Tehran’s ICHHTO office, told IRNA.  

The 22 suspended agents will be banned for periods ranging from one to three months before they are allowed to resume their operations, but only after they address their problems.

The Technical and Tourism Commission of Tehran has reviewed the policies pertaining to bank guarantees presented by tour operators in Tehran Province and the directive will be communicated to the agencies next week.

“Agencies that fail to produce a bank guarantee will be suspended and given 45 days to prepare the documents. They will then be put in abeyance for one to three months if the required papers are not ready within the set period,” said Rafiei, adding that the licenses will also be revoked in case the documents are not presented by the deadline.

Tourism officials in Tehran have turned up the heat on travel agencies, given the rise in the number of complaints by clients unsatisfied with the quality of service.

Currently, over 1,800 tour and travel companies operate in the city of Tehran, which may seem like a large number but given the sprawling capital’s population of 12 million, it makes sense. However, the large number of tour operators does not mean people receive the services they deserve, so ICHHTO has to diligently monitor their activities.

Despite the shortage of people working for the tourism organization, officials say strict supervision has led to a perceptible increase in service quality compared to past years.