People, Travel

Alternative Lodging Places Need Publicity

Many Norouz travelers opt to pitch their tents in campsites.Many Norouz travelers opt to pitch their tents in campsites.

Even though various accommodation facilities offer discounts during the two-week Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays, a large number of travelers still opt to pitch a tent at campsites.

Vali Teymouri, director of the Monitoring and Assessment of Tourism Services at Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said not everyone can or wants to stay in four- and five-star hotels. 

"There are other facilities whose discount offers or even existence is unknown to some," Teymouri was quoted as saying by ILNA.

Midscale hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments are all viable alternatives that many of the people who stay in campsites are unaware of, as they offer more convenient lodging alternatives at discount rates.

"These facilities have to rethink their marketing strategy and find a way to become more visible," Teymouri said, stressing that the culture of travel in Iran has to change.

"Most people can afford a stay in midscale hotels and other alternative places."

This is while critics say room rates in the vast majority of hotels in Iran, regardless of their star rating, do not match the quality of services and/or amenities. In other words, a three-star hotel may charge the price of a midscale establishment while offering services befitting a one-star hotel.

Hoteliers have long complained about declining occupancy rates, blaming it on the sudden rise in the popularity of vacation rentals and B&Bs that are far more affordable and sprouting up in every corner of Iran. Every September, hotels increase their rates but this year is different.

"In September, hoteliers agreed on increasing their prices by 11% but nobody implemented it," Teymouri said.

"In fact, most hotels are offering between 30% and 50% discount during the Norouz holidays (March 21–April 2)."

This may help dissuade people from traveling abroad to places like Turkey, which are facing a low season.

"During Norouz, which is our high travel season, Turkey offers big discounts to entice Iranians," he said.

In the past few years, when hotels would up their prices and offer little to no discounts, visiting Turkey would actually be a more affordable option than traveling to popular domestic locations. 


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