People, Travel

Luxury US Company Offering Iran Tours

Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in IsfahanNaqsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan

One luxury tour company in the US is promoting a new trip to Iran, describing it as the first opportunity to see an Iran opening up to the West after last year’s nuclear deal.

“We feel that Iran is one of the most exciting places that someone can travel to at this point in time, given the current climate in the country and what sort of changes have been taking place recently,” said Stefanie Schmudde, product manager of Americas and Middle East for the Downers Grove, Illinois-based tour company Abercrombie & Kent, AP reported.

UNESCO lists 21 World Heritage sites in Iran, including ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, the historical mosques and palaces at Naqsh-e-Jahan Square in Isfahan, and other sites included on the Illinois company’s 12-day tour starting $5,600.

Iran has long drawn Shia pilgrims to its holy sites, especially in Mashhad, Qom and Shiraz, but skiers and snowboarders also boast of its slopes, and the capital, Tehran, enjoys a growing modern art scene.

Europeans have been coming to Iran, but Americans represent less than 1% of the country's 5.2 million tourists.

Schmudde, who recently returned from a trip to Iran, compares the current opening of the country to what is taking place in Cuba, which unlike Iran has restored full diplomatic relations with the US.

“You get the sense you’re stepping into another world [when you travel to Iran], and that makes it completely fascinating to a traveler,” she says.

Abercrombie & Kent has planned its first Iran trip in early May. They say that interchange between American tourists and the Iranian people can help bridge the gap between the two nations.

“I would not hesitate to send anybody,” Schmudde said. “It’s a very exciting destination that’s really and truly on the cusp of change.”

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints