21 October 2013

Tourism in Iran

With its ancient ruins, glittering mosques and spectacular landscapes, Iran is home to some of the world's cultural treasures, but ever since the 1979 revolution, these have largely remained unseen by international tourists... Now, however, the new administration of Hassan Rouhani is taking steps to open up Iran to foreigners in an effort to improve its international image after the gloomy years under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – and to bring in much-needed foreign currency to an economy reeling from years of sanctions...

Chinese tourists are a priority. "World figures show that China sends more tourists to visit other countries than anywhere else," Najafi said. "With help from our embassy in China, we have spoken to Chinese tourism officials and we have invited a number of them to come to Iran."..

Brandon Stanton, an American citizen who travelled to Iran last year, attracted attention on returning home by posting an itinerary, along with pictures of Iran, on the Human of New York photo blog.

"Americans are especially loved," he wrote with astonishment. "This was noted in every travel account that I read, and I can confirm the fact. You will be smiled at, waved at, invited to meals, and asked to deliver personal messages to Jennifer Lopez. American music, movies, and media are thoroughly consumed by the people of Iran."

Amos Chapple, a photographer from New Zealand who has visited Iran on a number of times, said the Iran he saw was utterly different from the one represented in the west. "Every traveller I met felt the same way: they had arrived expecting hostility and danger, but ended up amongst the most cosmopolitan and generous people in the Middle East," he said.

"Having visited three times it's just heartbreaking to see what damage the sanctions are doing to ordinary people who have nothing but goodwill towards America."
Further details at The Guardian.


  1. This is just the inspiration I needed, thanks.

    One of those projects I keep putting off is to edit and share my videos taken during a month I spent in Iran a few years ago. Since it is a rare privilege for an American to see this country first hand, I wanted to document what it is really like and help others to see the same. I wholeheartedly agree with the quotes in your post, that the warmth and welcoming and genuine interest in us as Americans was amazing and surprising. Of course if you sit and talk politics with them, they will find no shortage of issues to tackle such as foreign policy of our government, but as a person they completely respected me. And I each of them.

    I'm opening up iMovie now... wish me luck in finishing this soon.

  2. Having returned from Iran a week ago, I can assure all the curious - it is a wonderful country with amazingly friendly people. When I left for Iran, most of my friends asked me if I was slightly mad. When you get there, you wonder why did you ever hesitate to go. While I'm not an American (I'm Estonian), I am quite sure the people would be just as friendly - if not more so - towards the Americans.

    On the street you'll be stopped dozens times a day by people who want to strike a conversation. Many of them would quickly go into the subject that they do not like their government and that they should not be judged by its actions. You'll be invited to homes and you'll quickly make many friends. There will be enough people who speak English. Apart of fantastic architecture, it is the amazing people that will make it a great trip. Cost wise - it is only couple of hundred USD to fly there from Istanbul, and being there costs perhaps $100-150/day (or $50/day if on budget).


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