Boosting Museum Visits

Boosting Museum VisitsBoosting Museum Visits

During the past Iranian year (ended March 20, 2015), public museums earned 400 billion rials ($12.1 million), ISNA reported, quoting the director of museum affairs at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Mohammad Reza Kargar, as saying.

Contingent on effective implementation of changes, experts predict a whopping 600-billion-rial ($18.1 million) turnover by the end of the year.

The changes include increasing ticket prices and offering discount packages to draw more visitors.

According to Kargar, raising entrance fees at museums and historical sites operated by ICHHTO will be the most important and effective measure.

“Optimizing services offered by museums is another measure,” said Kargar, “a measure that can be facilitated by the increase in ticket prices.”

Palace complexes in Tehran, such as Golestan and Niavaran, allow users to purchase tickets online, a key factor in attracting visitors. It is expected that by the end of the year, all ICHHTO-operated sites will offer e-tickets, Kargar said.

Dismissing claims that the rise in ticket prices would deter visitors, he stressed that “entrance fees are already low.”

Statistics show average museum visits rose by 15 percent during the Norouz holidays (March 20 – April 2), indicating 10 million more visits compared to the same period of last year.

To attract more tourists, discount packages are offered to museumgoers throughout the year.

There are also plans to overhaul the working hours of museums and historical sites. The short working hours of museums has often been criticized by experts, citing it as an obstacle to attracting more visitors and increasing revenue.

  Tourist Magnets

Museums and cultural heritage sites across the country attracted 20 million visitors in the last Iranian year according to the latest statistics.

Speaking to Mehr News Agency, Kargar said, “Of this figure, 1.75 million people were foreign tourists.”

Statistics took into account all paid and free visits to the country’s museums and historical sites operated by ICHHTO.

“The historical ruins of Persepolis and palaces in Tehran attracted the most tourists,” the official said.

Experts have often censured Iran’s lackluster methods of tourist data collection and are pushing officials to implement better techniques due to the importance of reliable statistics in developing tourism.