A Long Shot for Now

A Long Shot for NowA Long Shot for Now

There are numerous ‘wellness’ related initiatives in Iran, but wellness tourism has not yet really taken off in the country, and the few exisitng tours fall short of expectation. The result being, tourists tend to ignore wellness tours, as the only memory that it accompanies appears to be one of exhaustion, ISNA reported.

Travel agencies, who have ventured in this direction, have not had positive experiences in yoga and meditation tours either, an area which falls under the subcategory of health tourism. Their domestic tours have led to nothing short of regret and failure; whereas such tours elsewhere, outside the country, have a more positive outcome.

Although yoga is increasingly popular among the young, well to do urbanites, and yoga centers have mushroomed in the wealthier neighborhoods of north Tehran, Iran as a destination for yoga tours is left wanting. The few tourists, who decide to venture down this less trodden road, will be left disappointed, taking shelter in not ‘fit-for-purpose’ accommodation, in mountains and forests with a yoga instructor of variable standards.

Tourists in Iran baulk at the price of yoga tours, while similar events in Dubai receive a warmer welcome.

In addition to the travel agencies authorized by Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), there are certain yoga gyms where such tours are organized.

The events and activities involving wellness tourism do not seem to be directed in any organized way. This is why ICHHTO has recently compiled a ‘rule-book’ on health and wellness tourism in order to save the industry from getting in the hands of brokers and profiteers.  With the legal framework delimited by the health tourism rule-book, it is now easier to identify unauthorized tours. The next step is to provide the necessities for high quality health and wellness tours.

Despite Iran’s great potential for yoga and meditation tours and recent steps to improve standards, the current condition remains unfavorable, and in recent years following a few unsuccessful experiences in meditation and yoga tours, organizers decide to shift abroad.

  Morris & Fisher

Morris island in South Carolina and Fisher island in Florida are considered ideal resorts for relaxation.

Seven nights on Morris island will cost a minimum of $2,500. The island has enjoyed effective marketing and won 20 international prizes. In 2014, the National Geographic announced Fisher island as the best in the world, as far as wellness travel is concerned. The island hotel is ecological. Devoid of concrete and the like, and bills itself to be in harmony with human energies.

There have been a number of yoga tours organized in cooperation with Yoga Association of Iran, but the hiring of yoga trainers makes the trips costly, though of good quality. Furthermore, five-star hotels were booked for the tours so facilities like hot water, massage rooms, and yoga gym would be at their disposal. Naturally, the more stars a hotel has, the costlier the tour; and so very few people find it feasible.


There are two well-known wellness packages to India. One is a week-long tour to the Purple Valley Yoga Retreat. The retreat is situated in a peaceful valley in Assago, North Goa, a state on India’s west coast, lined by white sandy beaches and azure ocean.  Purple Valley hosts Ashtanga yoga courses among tropical gardens. Meals are vegetarian, served buffet style, on open terraces. Breakfast is a made of exotic tropical fruits, homemade breads, local nuts and porridge. Dinners are a mix of Indian and Western food, with all ingredients fresh from local markets, and organic wherever possible. It all costs about $2,600.

The second package sends the tourists to the south of India, where they stay for 10 days and pay $3,000. One can choose between a group tour and an individual trip.

There are about 400 yoga centers and ashrams in South India alone.