Iran Coming in from the Cold?
Election of reformist candidate could be good news for tourism says Wild Frontiers
The election of reformist-backed candidate Hassan Rouhani could be good news for tourists wanting to visit the country, according to tour operator Wild Frontiers. The company currently offers holidays to Iran despite the FCO advice against travel there.
“Iran is one of the most impressive destinations we offer, with its long and fascinating history, stunning architecture and unique culture. We have been operating tours to Iran for ten years without any issues,” said Wild Frontiers MD Jonny Bealby. “In fact, one of the things our clients tell us they enjoy most again and again is the friendliness and welcome provided by the locals. We hope the election of Hassan Rouhani will prompt a period of détente, making visas easier to obtain and resulting in the lifting of the FCO advice against travel.” Currently, owing to the lack of diplomatic ties between Britain and Iran, visas must be processed via the Iranian consulate in Dublin.
Iran has some of the world’s most impressive architecture, particularly in the ancient city of Esfahan. Imam Square, the second largest in the world after Tiananmen Square, is regarded as one of the most stunning in the world, flanked on all sides by beautifully-crafted Islamic buildings and the entrance to the city’s lively bazaar. Other highlights include the city of Yazd, a centre of Zoroastrianism and home to the Jame Mosque, with its spectacular tiled entrance; the green Bavanat Valley, where Wild Frontiers clients stay with local farmers and visit nomads; and one of the world’s must-see sites in Persepolis, the well-preserved ancient Achaenenid capital, with its intricately-carved bas-reliefs and griffin sculptures.
“The Persian hospitality is legendary and on our Iran tours our clients have lots of interaction with locals, including stays with local farmers in the countryside and visits to nomadic people,” said Bealby. “We have long felt that the FCO restrictions have been more a political issue rather than because of any genuine threat to visitors, and we will be delighted if this election result means Iran gets to showcase its hospitality and world-class sites to more people”.