Package Holidays Outdo Independent Travel in Iran

Package Holidays Outdo Independent Travel in IranPackage Holidays Outdo Independent Travel in Iran

Finding travel agencies in major cities of Iran is not difficult; there is one around every corner, offering a variety of tours to different locations.

However, Iranians prefer to travel independently because it makes better financial sense, although many disagree.

Summer is the peak travel season, but people opt to get in their cars and travel to the closest holiday destination rather than try out one of the many tour packages on offer.

“In times of economic hardship (like the one Iran is going through due to years of international sanctions), one of the first things crossed off is traveling,” says Mahsa Motahar, secretary of the Iran Federation of Tourist Guide Associations.

“That is because unlike in developing countries where traveling is seen as an essential part of life, in Iran it’s viewed as a luxury, so people are quick to eliminate it when the going gets tough.”

She also told the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad that due to economic instability, there is little demand for travel, so contrary to popular belief not many people go on leisurely trips.

“But let’s assume demand is high and people travel all the time. Most would still prefer to travel independently for a variety of reasons, such as being overprotective of one’s family and the mentality that they (tourists) work better alone,” Motahar said.

“We’re basically an introvert society.”

A major problem is the lack of planning on the part of travelers. Traveling for most people is a spur of the moment decision, the tour operator says, a problem which, if addressed, will help both travel agencies and tourists.

“If people start planning early, they will give themselves time to go through the tours on offers and sign up for the one they want. This allows travel agencies time to prepare and get the best possible deal with hotels and airlines, which in turn results in more affordable prices,” Motahar said.

  Better for Economy

Going on tours with a trained guide will have economic and environmental benefits, according to Esrafil Shafiezadeh, a visiting lecturer at Antonio de Nebrija University in Madrid, Spain.

“Traveling as part of a group will help reduce the environmental impact of traveling, as people may feel more responsible and can instill that feeling in others,” he said.

Shafiezadeh noted that it also helps mitigate traffic congestions and the pollution caused by so many cars hitting the roads at the same time.

Pointing to a critical mistake by travelers that makes them think they are saving money by traveling independently, the academic said most people assume that lodging prices are constant, so they do the math quickly and conclude that traveling in their car, especially given the low price of gasoline, is more economically feasible.

Shafiezadeh conceded that in some cases, independent travel may cost less, but not by much, and not by a margin that would justify avoiding package holidays “that can help develop the economy.”