Is a single agreement enough to persuade Turkish tourists to visit Iran? Iranian President recently made a fruitful visit to Turkey in order to extend relations in the field of tourism.
Is a single agreement enough to persuade Turkish tourists to visit Iran?
Iranian President recently made a fruitful visit to Turkey in order to extend relations in the field of tourism. Masoud Sultanifar, Iranian Vice President and the head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization signed a cooperation agreement with Turkey on tourism.
The agreement was one of the ten cooperation agreements signed during Rouhani's visit to Turkey alongside his entourage. Experts see these agreements as effective means of developing Tehran- Ankara relations. But interestingly, trade balance between Iranians visiting Turkey and Turkish tourists visiting Iran is negative, as a result of which, many analysts and experts have voiced their dissatisfaction. The terms and conditions of the agreement are still unclear, but Amir Hossein Jafari, the managing director of one of the biggest travel agencies in Iran had an interview with Donya-e-Eqtesad on the subject of the recent agreement on tourism.
"The agreement can be beneficial, but a single agreement cannot possibly be enough, although it is probably asserted in the deal that for a specific number of Iranian tourists visiting Turkey, Iran will host certain number of Turkish tourists." Jafari said. "In fact we need to prepare the ground for Turkish tourists to visit Iran willingly and on their own."
Jafari asserted that it is not just Iranians who visit Turkey and said: "Iran's share of tourism in Turkey is significantly lower than that of Germany and Russia. If Iranians or tourists of other countries choose turkey as their destination, that is because Turkish officials have paved the way for the reception of huge number of tourists. We need to remember that a single agreement will never be enough to attract Turkish tourists to Iran. Developing tourism infrastructure and facilities is the key requirement for attracting tourists."
Jafari believes that holding tourism exhibitions and festivals, establishing tourism offices, extending cultural ties, etc. are among the necessary moves to attract Turkish tourists to Iran.
Mentioning the negative balance of tourism between the two countries, Jafari said: "It is not hard to claim that for every 100 Iranian Tourists in Turkey, only five Turkish tourists visit Iran, most of whom come for business. Such agreements would undoubtedly boost the relation of the two nations, but only through proper execution."
Jafari concluded: "Seemingly, with more agreements signed and the flock of more tourists to Iran, the real issue of Iranian tourism which is lack of infrastructure will be felt more than before. Thus, coming up with such agreements need to be in line with the development of tourism infrastructure; a serious issue which has turned into the government and the private sector's main objective for quite some time."