Turkish City Prospering Thanks to Iranian Tourists

Turkish City Prospering Thanks to Iranian TouristsTurkish City Prospering Thanks to Iranian Tourists

Iranian travelers are contributing greatly to Turkey’s tourism industry through frequent travels to the country, particularly southern cities, and their significant spending sprees.  

While Bodrum, Kusadasi, Istanbul and Izmir have been the usual destinations of Iranian tourists, the eastern city of Igdir has been attracting swathes of Iranian travelers looking for an affordable holiday abroad.

It has become the norm for some Iranian travel agencies to promote holiday packages in Iran’s neighboring countries at the expense of domestic tourism, ISNA reports.

They can hardly be blamed, though. Lack of infrastructure deters Iranian travelers from visiting otherwise beautiful spots across the country. Traveling to countries such as Turkey is also considerably cheaper than touring a European country.  

Nevertheless, continued negligence of Iran’s tourism potentials will have adverse impacts on the industry in the long run.

Turkey’s isolated southern cities owe their prosperity to tourists, especially from Iran, who have made the industry their most important source of income.

Igdir, a sparsely populated city located 50 km from Iran’s Bazargan border in West Azarbaijan Province, has been drawing Iranian tourists for a few years while its only attractions are shopping centers and recreational facilities.

Lacking flight routes, tourists endure a 13-hour bus ride and accommodation in substandard hotels because traveling to Igdir costs a mere 6 million rials ($185), considerably cheaper than traveling to Iranian tourist hubs like Shiraz, Mashhad and Kish Island. It is no wonder that tour packages are sold out quickly.

Domestic tourism officials must be wary of the post-sanctions tourism era. Once western-imposed sanctions are lifted, which will no doubt boost the economy, there is a great chance that even more Iranians will travel abroad on holidays.

Unless steps are taken to remedy the situation, i.e. improve infrastructure and expand recreational facilities, Iran may not only miss out on foreign tourists, but it could also lose its domestic travelers.