An Iranian tourism official says the age of cultural visitors to Iran, who used to be much older than now, has been decreasing recently despite the US’ efforts to spread Iranophobia around the world.
Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Ashraf Vaqefi says the age range of cultural tourists visiting Iran remains high, but “we have recently witnessed a drop in the age of cultural tourists visiting Iran.”
“This age range is lower among nature tourists,” said Vaqefi, the deputy head of Iran’s tour operators’ community.
“Of course, the age range is different depending on the visitors coming from different countries,” he said.
“European tourists travelling to Iran as cultural visitors are mostly old while the ages of tourists coming from other countries are lower,” said the official.
He touched upon the financial status and occupations of the tourists coming to Iran.
“Most European tourists are from the middle class of society, but if tourists from other continents such the Americas and Australia want to travel to Iran, they should be well-off because in most cases they do not travel to another continent just to visit one country; rather, they usually visit several countries,” he said.
Although Iran has turned into an inexpensive destination for foreign tourists given the devaluation of the Iranian current, visitors from other countries are going to have an expensive trip ahead as they have to travel long distances and transportation costs have increased. So, they usually plan to visit several countries during one trip.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Vaqefi underlined that a major propaganda campaign has been launched against Iran.
“This propaganda has painted another picture of Iran in the minds of people around the world,” he said.
“But an overwhelming majority of tourists change their minds completely when they come to Iran, and they leave Iran with satisfaction,” he said.
With regard to the current situation, he added, the number of tours organized for visiting Iran is satisfactory.
“Some travel agencies have seen a drop in the number of foreign tourists, and some others (agencies) are in a better situation,” he noted.
“But on the whole, we can say although we have seen a drop in the number of incoming tours, the decrease has not been large enough to be seen as a major decline because people around the world are now aware of US policies,” he said.
Vaqefi notes there has been a rise in the number of visitors with special interests such as tourists who would like to get more familiar with Iran’s agriculture, cuisine, nature and even deserts.
The official said it has been quite some time that Iran has been organizing joint tours with neighbouring countries. For example, he added, joint Iran-Uzbekistan tours have been organized for visitors from most European countries as well as Australia and even China. The official said these tours are becoming more and more popular.