People, Travel

Seniors are a Majority

Seniors are a MajoritySeniors are a Majority

Foreign tourists coming to Iran have an average age of 50, and are mostly women.

Middle aged and senior visitors fill up the museums and international heritage sites of Iran, which have recently been graced with plenty of international tourists, from neighboring countries such as Pakistan or further afield from the US.

This tourist population is coming to see a country against which until very recently there has been huge negative propaganda. As a direct consequence of the Geneva interim with the P5+1 and its extension now, the ‘Iranophobia’ seems gradually to be fading away.

Iran has become trendy, and tourists have been arriving by air, on board luxury trains and on large cruise ships.  In spite of this “it is middle aged and seniors that make up the largest proportion.  This is a fact that bears considerable implications for policy makers,” says Mohamadreza Pouyandeh, director of the tourism planning office at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO).

Another tourism specialist, Ebrahim Pourfaraj who is the head of Iran’s Tour Operators’ Association says “The average age of incoming tourists is 50, and women outnumber men in the ratio of 60 to 40.”

He adds, although this group is quite well-off, especially if they are from Europe or the US, and can spend more, “they have less marketing power and can disseminate less by word-of-mouth in comparison with the younger generation;” therefore he underlined the necessity to expand marketing and publicity for the country.

This is while the country has exceedingly attracted most of its tourists through ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing from previous visitors.  


 Established Market

Nima Akbarirad, a tour guide, tells Mehr news agency,”There are also many adventure tours for cycling, Safaris, rallies, caving, etc. available to younger generations. But they remain far less popular than the cultural programs.” That is of course, to some extent justifiable; with over 1 million sites of historical value, Iran has been established as a heritage destination. But at the same time, “It means the country needs to redouble its endeavors to cater to other market (such as younger tourists) needs too,” he adds.

Iran has great potential in operating special-interest tours, and many tourists are exclusively coming to visit, for instance, Iran’s deserts or qanats- series of ancient well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels underground which collect underground water and brought it to the surface to be used for irrigation or drinking. Iranians were the inventors of such a technology thousands of years ago.