Exceptional Packages for Norouz Foreign Visitors

ICHHTO is offering cheap tour packages to certain countries in Norouz to encourage travel to Iran
Citizens of Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan will be able to travel to (clockwise) Tehran, Karaj, Tabriz and Hamedan at $350-440. Citizens of Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan will be able to travel to (clockwise) Tehran, Karaj, Tabriz and Hamedan at $350-440.
The package include air transportation, hotel and air port transfer as well as free medical checkup for Iraqi travelers

Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has planned cheap tours to four destinations for the citizens of Turkey, Iraq and Azerbaijan between March 16 and April 4, corresponding roughly with the Norouz (Iranian New Year) holidays to stimulate the country's declining inbound tourism market. 

The seven- to eight-day packages, planned for Tehran, Karaj (Alborz Province), Tabriz (East Azarbaijan Province) and Hamedan cost $350-440 and include air transportation, hotel and airport transfer. For Iraqi travelers, the package also includes a free medical checkup, ISNA reported. 

In cooperation with Iran Civil Aviation Organization and several airlines, hotels and travel agencies, empty-leg flights and hotel vacancies in the target cities that often receive few tourists during the New Year holidays will be exploited to implement the project.  

Travel to Iran is rather expensive compared to the trip made to regional countries. This prevents the country from competing with its neighboring states. Besides, according to ICHHTO statistics, inbound tourism has experienced a declining trend over the past year, especially from Middle Eastern and Arab countries. 

Certain private companies have predicted that the arrival of European tourists will also fall in 2018 and 2019, if the cost of travel services continues to rise. 

This project is aimed at encouraging travel to Iran by offering exceptional discounts to make up for the deficit. 

Hormatollah Rafiei, a member of the board of directors of Travel Agents Guild Association, welcomed the move as an appropriate measure under the current circumstances where forex rates are fluctuating.

"It would be an effective plan if we manage to attract tourists from these countries in the short time remaining [to Norouz]," he said. 

According to the official, convincing airlines and charterers to offer empty legs at low prices, conducting extensive publicity in the limited period of time and meeting the preferences of travelers of target countries in devising the packages are key to the project's success.

Manila Mohajer, a member of Iranian Tour Operators Association, also said the scheme will help develop the tourism industry if implemented in an appropriate way. 

"I believe that foreigners will be surprised by the prices. The complete tour costs almost as much as a flight, as if the passengers are winning a free one-week tour with their tickets," she said. 

Mohajer pointed to publicity as the biggest challenge and suggested that ICHHTO start negotiations with tourism authorities and unions in the target countries so as to gain their trust and support. 

"There are no difficulties in terms of visa, hotel and tickets, but marketing is a challenge since only fewer than 20 days are left to the set date," she said. 

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