Iran could benefit from an influx of international visitors, including Brits, as a result of recent political changes in the country, typified by the nuclear agreement signed in Vienna earlier this summer.
The World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report, released today (Monday 2 November) at World Travel Market London asked UK holidaymakers about Iran’s potential as a tourism destination. One-in-six (16%) of UK holidaymakers said they are interested in visiting the country.
Furthermore, 30% of the global travel industry (WTM exhibitors and members of the WTM Buyers’ Club) which has interests in the inbound or outbound Iranian tourism sector said that they expected to do more business over the next twelve months.
Masoud Soltanifar, director of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO), told state TV that the country would like to welcome 20 million international visitors by 2025.
The catalyst for the optimism is the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” – a deal signed between Iran and China, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US – in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions.
Almost immediately, the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office dropped its advisory against all but essential travel to Iran, saying that that apart from its borders with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, “the risk to British nationals has changed, in part due to decreasing hostility under President Rouhani’s government.”
Diplomatic relations between the UK have also improved, with the Iranian embassy in London and the British embassy in Tehran re-opening in August.
In terms of tourism, French hotel chain Accor is opening two airport hotels and has ambitious plans to open more in the future, while Dubai-based Rotana Hotels has also committed to open at least four hotels.
There is even an “Airbnb-style” business, OrientStay, which has 200 flats available for tourists. Iranian authorities have given the service the regulatory all-clear.
Airlines are also interested in serving the country – Emirates for example has added a service from its Dubai hub to Masshad, Iran’s second city. It already flies to Tehran.
As the leading global event for the travel industry, World Travel Market London has had a relationship with Iran’s tourism industry, even when the country was off-limits as a mainstream tourism destination. This year the country’s presence at WTM London is its strongest ever, with the country and its sharers taking a 71.5 square meter stand, nearly six times as big as its 2014 commitment.
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “The emergence of Iran as a potential tourism destination is an exciting prospect.
“We are pleased that more and more exhibitors from the country are choosing WTM to showcase the attractions of Iran to our global audience of buyers and industry professionals.”
The World Travel Market 2015 Industry Report polled 2,000 senior industry executives and more than 1,000 UK holidaymakers – all of whom had a minimum of a seven day holiday in 2015.
About World Travel Market London
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.
Almost 51,500 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.
WTM London, now in its 36th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals. WTM 2014 will generate around £2.5 billion of travel industry contracts.
WTM London is part of Reed Travel Exhibition’s World Travel Market events, which also includes Arabian Travel Market, World Travel Market Latin America and World Travel Market Africa. www.wtmworld.com
World Travel Market Events
World Travel Market is comprised of the leading leisure travel events in the world; World Travel Market London, WTM Latin America in Sao Paulo, WTM Africa in Cape Town and Arabian Travel Market in Dubai.
New events for 2016 are WTM connect Asia and WTM connect China, which join WTM connect Ski and International Golf Travel Market. These unique one-to-one events are targeted at leisure and niche travel markets, allowing exhibitors to exclusively meet with elite hosted buyers.
The World Travel Market events are attended by the global travel and tourism industry’s senior executives to conduct business deals and discover the latest research, insight and opinion.
In 2014, the World Travel Market events facilitated around $7 billion in industry deals from negotiations between the more than 15,000 buyers, 9,500 exhibitors (1,500 main stand holders and 8,000 stand sharers) in attendance of its four events.
WTM is part of Reed travel Exhibitions, the leading events organizer in the travel industry, and is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions.
Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry. Its wide-ranging portfolio of events around the globe covers leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE, which organises more than 22 events around the world, includes three divisions; World Travel Market, IBTM Events and International Luxury Travel Market.
RTE is a business unit of Reed Exhibitions.
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organiser, with over 500 events in 43 countries. In 2014 Reed brought together over seven million event participants from around the world generating billions of dollars in business. Today Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.