People, Travel

Iran Looking Into US Visa Policy Impacts

Iran Looking Into US Visa Policy ImpactsIran Looking Into US Visa Policy Impacts

Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has asked inbound travel agencies to prepare reports on any losses caused by recent changes in the United States' visa and travel policies.

In December 2015, the former US president Barack Obama signed into law an amendment to the country's Visa Waiver Program, barring people who traveled after March 1, 2011, to Iraq and Syria—as well as Iran and Sudan—from participating in the visa-free program.

The VWP is available to citizens of 38 countries, largely US allies and relatively developed democracies. Many are in Europe, including Belgium and France, the home countries of several of the Paris attackers.

In January, US President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, from traveling to America for three months. The executive order was suspended a week later by a federal judge, but Trump is expected to announce a revised version of his travel policies that will most likely be just as discriminatory.

Mehr News Agency reported on Thursday that ICHHTO is looking into the potential damage of these developments on Iran's budding tourism sector with the help of the Foreign Ministry.

The organization has also instructed all affected entities—from hotels that have had guests cancel bookings to companies that were expected to host business delegations who canceled their trips—to prepare a detailed report outlining information such as the precise detail of cancellation along with evidence for their claims.

Changes to the VWP are not thought to have had a significant impact on Iran's tourism, because most of the country's inbound tourists come from countries that do not participate in the VWP.

However, Trump's travel policies could have a more significant impact simply because they affect not only the seven countries that have been singled out, but also nationals of countries that have visited one of the seven countries included in the ban.

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