Domestic Tourism Getting More Pricey

Domestic Tourism Getting More Pricey Domestic Tourism Getting More Pricey

The world’s most affordable destination has become too expensive for its residents, claims a report by Mehr News Agency.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum named Iran as the most affordable holiday spot among 141 countries studied, but recent events have priced Iranians out of enjoying vacations of choice in their homeland.

Shortly after airfares were deregulated on 170 domestic routes, airlines began selling tickets at inflated prices, despite warnings from experts and lawmakers that a price hike would “be justifiable only if it is accompanied by an improvement in service quality.”

Although Reza Jafarzadeh, head of public relations at the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran, had said the deregulation would affect routes leading to the islands of Kish and Qeshm as well as oil-rich cities and new routes, it turns out domestic airlines have raised the prices for other routes as well, namely the overcrowded Tehran-Mashhad route.

“Policies aren’t enforced and airlines are not supervised,” said Nasser Goldoust, a member of the Association of Air Travel and Tourism Agencies of Iran.

“They’re going to raise the prices even further during the peak travel season and on public holidays.”

A handful of Iran’s 12 airlines have said they have no plans to raise prices, a policy clearly aimed at promoting their brands and attracting passengers. Nevertheless, the feeling is that air travel has become a luxury only a select few can afford. A few years back it was not so and many Iranians could afford air travel for the simple reason that this industry too like almost all others was subsidized.

Authorities are also considering raising rail fare, although the Consumers and Producers Rights Protection Organization has warned that any price hike without its approval would be illegal, and should the proposal be approved, prices can only be increased by a maximum of 6%.

  Hotel Rates Up 20%

To make matters worse for the working- and middle-class, the news agency said, hotel rates are set to rise by a solid 20% sometime during the next three months, making a comfortable stay at a rated lodging facility a dream for the vast majority of Iranians.

Hotels in Iran have regularly been accused of overcharging and failing to provide services in accordance with their star rating. As a result, people are turning to other alternatives such as vacation homes which have hurt the hotel business.

Furthermore, some even opt to set up tents in public spaces such as parks as a cheaper alternative, though it does create a rather ugly and messy spectacle.

  Museum Fees

Last month, museum entry fees shot up 50%, amid protests by cultural heritage advocates, who said raising admission fees will hurt museum visits.

Officials at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organizations, the body that manages public museums and historical heritage, deny the assertions, arguing that the fees were very low and increasing ticket prices is essential for optimizing services offered by museums.

What makes these price hikes unacceptable and outrageous is that the quality of services has simply not improved. An aging fleet of airplanes, untrained hotel staff, and short working hours of museums are but a few examples of why the rise in prices is unmerited.