Enlisting Virtual Tour Operators in the Pipeline

Enlisting Virtual Tour Operators in the Pipeline  Enlisting Virtual Tour Operators in the Pipeline

Iranians living abroad have been invited to submit their applications for a position as "virtual tour operators" as of January 6.

The job involves encouraging foreigners to visit Iran and earn a sum of money for each tourist that is convinced to make a trip. The effort is in line with the new scheme proposed by Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, to make a change in common strategies of attracting tourists.  Ali Asghar Mounesan, the head of ICHHTO, labeled the project an innovative approach in the field.

"Iranians could endorse the country's tourist attractions and handmade artworks, and receive a certain amount of wage for each traveler they send to Iran," Donya-e Safar quoted him as saying.  The scheme could also help Iranian students in foreign countries to earn more money.

The official, however, did not clarify the amount of money they will pay and the process to prove the tourist has traveled through the virtual operators' channel.  Online registration will be available at on the launch date.  To pick out qualified applicants, submitted forms will undergo close scrutiny by tourism experts at ICHHTO. Once declared eligible, the applicants would receive the necessary know-how of working as a virtual tour operator.

"Furthermore, an online service will also provide the would-be tour operators with advertising content and information on tour packages offered by Iranian travel agencies," he explained.

The country's ultimate goal is to draw 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2025. Although the target appears to be overambitious with only 7 years to go, authorities seem to be trying various strategies to catch up.

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