Jamshid Hamzezadeh said given the relatively low number of Iran hotel bookings carried out through “Booking.com” website, the new sanctions on Iran will have no considerable impact on the country’s tourism industry as well as on the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran.
“Putting Iranian hotels in the Booking.com list of hotels had some advantages for them but the main point is that Iranian hotels never could work directly with the company behind the website because they faced obstacles in financial transactions which were never removed,” he said, according to a report by ISNA.
Following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Booking.com said in an email to its Iranian subscribers that despite its strong interest in keeping cooperation with them, it has no way but to end the cooperation due to the domestic laws of the United Sates. It also urged the Iranian hotels to check their bookings because all of their records would be cancelled as of November.
Booking Iranian hotels in the website was carried out semi-online through a proxy site and the foreign tourists couldn’t complete the process of booking and payment.
For the time being, there is no booking system for foreign tourists deciding to visit Iran to complete their booking process themselves without any proxy.
“The number of bookings [of Iranian hotels] carried out through Booking.com was not considerable. In other words, foreign tourists willing to visit Iran barely used the website for booking a hotel in Iran. Therefore, denying Iranian hotels from using the website will have no considerable impact on the tourism industry of Iran,” he noted.
Hamzezadeh underlined that if Iranians’ access to booking systems in the world is restricted, their foreign travels would be hampered because they usually use such platforms for booking hotels abroad.
Meanwhile, he added, Iranian tourist agencies made considerable use of the platforms and now with the new sanctions, the visits of Iranian tourists will be impacted.
Booking.com is a Dutch travel fare aggregator website and travel meta-search engine for lodging reservations. Since 2005, it has been owned and operated by United States-based Booking Holdings and is currently seated in Amsterdam. The website lists more than 1,534,024 properties in 226 countries and territories and books 1,200,000 room nights per day. The site is available in 43 languages. In 2013, the site accounted for more than two thirds of the revenue of Booking Holdings.