People, Travel

Iran, Spain to Explore Tourism Cooperation

The Spanish Melia Group is set to open the five-star Melia Motel Ghoo in Salman-Shahr, Mazandaran Province.The Spanish Melia Group is set to open the five-star Melia Motel Ghoo in Salman-Shahr, Mazandaran Province.

A delegation of Iranian business owners and officials will travel to Spain in two months to explore avenues for expanding tourism cooperation.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Mohammad Reza Karbasi, deputy for international affairs at Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture, said the talks will build on discussions held last year in Tehran when a high-profile Spanish delegation visited Iran.

“The purpose of the talks is to explore investment opportunities in Iran’s tourism and hotel industries,” he said.

Following the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, Tehran and Madrid have gradually become closer.

Beatriz Oficialdegui, marketing director of Destinia, a prominent Spain-based online travel agency, said the agency entered the Iranian market in 2015, making it the first European travel agency to claim a stake in the emerging Iranian online travel sector.

Spanish hotel group Melia is set to open the five-star Melia Motel Ghoo, Iran’s first foreign-branded seaside hotel, in Salman-Shahr, Mazandaran Province.

Last month, Mahan Air launched direct flights from Tehran to Barcelona. There have also been talks of starting a Tehran-Madrid route.

Iran and Spain first began tourism cooperation in 2002, when the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding. However, the agreement was not renewed by the incumbent Iranian government in 2005 despite Spain’s calls for renewal.

The number of Spanish tourists in Iran reached 9,761 in the last Iranian year (March 2016-17), more than double the 4,022 reported in March 2013-14.  Officials believe this bodes well for Iran because it paves the way for cooperation with Spain, whose tourism industry is a model to follow.


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