Category: Travel

Iran 2 oldest petrol stations on national heritage list, the first petroleum museum

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Who says practical things can’t be beautiful? Iran has put its two oldest petrol stations on its national heritage list, making the “monuments” part of the country’s first petroleum museum. But these are no ordinary petrol stations—Fourth Fuel Distribution Station in downtown Tehran, which was built by the Anglo Persian Oil Company between 1925-41, is covered in bright glazed tiles and boasts the same classic Islamic architectural features, including geometric patterns and arches, that can be seen on some of the country’s most spectacular buildings. The other petrol station, which dates to 1927, is built from stone and has strong Art Deco influences, showing the popular British aesthetic at the time. “Unfortunately, a number of old fuel distribution places including gas stations with very peculiar architecture have been destroyed during the time or have been changed for other uses,” says a statement on the museum’s website.

The Fourth Fuel Distribution Station is located in Panzdah Khordad Street in Tehran. (Photo: The Iran Petroleum Museum and Documents)

The Fourth Fuel Distribution Station is located in Panzdah Khordad Street in Tehran. (Photo: The Iran Petroleum Museum and Documents)

The Iran Petroleum Museum and Documents, which is located in the southwestern city of Abadan, on the border with Iraq, opened in January this year to document and preserve objects and equipment relating to Iran’s century-old oil industry. The open-air museum includes hundreds of objects from oil tanker trucks, kerosene lamps and oil product containers to historical documents. The museum hopes to add 15 more fuel-related heritage sites to its roster in the future.

The Memorandum of Understanding on Medical Ink Tourism in Iran with 32 countries

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The Memorandum of Understanding on Medical Ink Tourism in Iran with 32 countries

Iran has signed several Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on medical tourism with 32 countries at a recent conference held in Tehran.

Tourism The Iranian Social Security Organization (HEGTA) has signed Memoranda of Understanding on medical tourism with agents and representatives from 32 countries at a specialized conference in the Iranian capital of Tehran on 8 August.

According to a Farsi report from the daily Tejarat, following the signing of the MoU, these agents each obtained a license from the Iranian Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Security Ali Rabiei to become HEGTA representatives in their respective countries.

Among the states that received the license of the Iranian Minister were the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia, the Republic of Dagestan, the Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Tajikistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan, Canada, Oman, Afghanistan, Turkey, China, Uganda, France, Germany, Turkmenistan, Tanzania, Romania, Sweden, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Nigeria.

Following the holding of the confab, HEGTA officially began its activities in Iran in the field of medical tourism. The medical tourism sector in Iran is currently ready to provide medical tourists from around the world with services in all medical fields and treatment.

Some 22 hospitals in 15 Iranian cities, Homa Hotels Group and Raja Rail Transport of Iran all play a role in the development of the medical tourism industry in the country by providing services in this area.

The hospital medical tourism packages and the commemorative stamp were also unveiled at the seminar.

Job creation

In response to the conference, Rabiei said that more than 120,000 jobs should be created in the domestic tourism sector in the current Iranian year (end of March 2018).

He added that the sector can play an important role in promoting employment in Iran.

“By 2015, the number of medical tourists around the world amounted to six million.”

High-quality services

Speaking at the same conference, Mohammad-Ali Nourbakhsh, head of the Social Security Organization of Iran, said that the country’s health tourism sector offers foreign visitors a high quality and appropriate services.

He added that few countries in the world have the same level of medical science as Iran.

“Iran’s medical and treatment facilities are also very appropriate. Patients from all over the world can come to the country to benefit from qualified doctors, who are among the best in the world and receive medical and treatment services. Quality “.

Iranian private sector opens hospital for medical tourists

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Iranian private sector opens hospital for medical tourists
The largest private hospital in western Iran is expected to open by March 2018 to provide medical services to Iranian and foreign medical tourists.

The construction of the Milad hospital as the largest private hospital in western Iran is now in its final phase, according to a Farsi report by Khabar online news agency.

The Milad hospital, which is under construction in the town of Orumiyeh in the western province of Azerbaijan, should be equipped with the most advanced medical technology.

Nearly $ 260 million has been invested to date to complete the first phase of the hospital’s main building, which has been built on an area of 26,000 m². Including the hospital complex, it occupies a 45,000 m² plot in Orumiyeh.

It has various neighborhoods, including maternity, surgery, physiotherapy as well as laboratories, administrative sections and specialized clinics.

The CEO and board member of the hospital, Kamran Jamshidi, said the construction project is underway with private investments from the country’s medical company.

“The idea of the project began to appear in 2010, but it officially began a year later after the purchase of a large land in Orumiyeh”.

He went on to say that the construction process has the full support of the Ministry of Health, the office of the governor of Azerbaijan West and the municipality of Orumiyeh.

Jamshidi also noted that the construction process has grown in particular last year and added the first phase of the project, which includes 100 beds, is already completed and will be operational in the near future.

The construction of the hospital with a capacity of 300 patients will be completed at the end of the current calendar year of Iran (March 20, 2018), he added.

On the main objective of the Medical Association to build the hospital, Jamshidi said that since the Western Azerbaijan suffered from a massive lack of medical equipment, the association decided to take a measure at In this regard and to remove at least a major part of the shortage of medicine in the province.

“Given the proximity of some regional countries such as Iraq and Turkey, Western Azerbaijan Province can offer services to foreign tourists and Milad hospital can offer services to patients from other countries, “He noted.

Jamshidi stressed that the provision of luxurious services to attract tourists is one of the main factors motivating investors of the Milad hospital.

He stated that the main shareholders of the project are members of the Medical Association.

“About 200 people are involved in the project and we hope that all the other members of the Association will participate in the struggle and will collaborate with the project,” he added.

Elsewhere in his statements, Jamshidi stated that 90% Of the hospital’s construction operations were carried out by the local chiefs and added about $ 270 million has been invested so far to operationalize the first phase of the project.

The end of the entire project will cost about $ 540 million, he added.

Another member of the board of directors of the Milad hospital, Hassan Entezami, said that the hospital is the first intelligent hospital in Iran that is equipped with optical fibers. “He is also able to have an online connection with other smart hospitals around the world,” he added.

“The board of directors has decided to employ skilled doctors and send them to countries like Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden for specialized training,” he said.

He went on to say that the council decided to set up a number of apartment hotels near the buildings to accommodate patients and offer them more services.

“So far, the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan has expressed interest in sending its patients to the Milad hospital for treatment,” he noted.

“The Milad hospital aims to provide medical services to foreigners in order to attract more tourists to the region,” he said.

The hospital also creates jobs for at least a thousand people, he concluded.

Iran to develop Rural Tourism Potentials of thousands of villages

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Iranian authorities will review the tourism potentials of 1,000 villages in the current Iranian year (started March 21) and draw up plans for those with the biggest potential.

Seyyed Abolfazl Razavi, vice president for rural development and deprived areas, said the government has identified more than 5,000 villages whose tourism industry could be developed.

“Some 1,000 villages that boast a rich history or unique arts and crafts will be studied this year,” he was quoted as saying by IRIB News.

Out of the 64,000 villages in the country, 33,000 have been deserted and 25,000 villages are each inhabited by less than 20 households. Officials hope to stop and possibly reverse rural-urban migration by developing rural tourism and creating jobs.

To that end, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization announced in May that it had developed a plan that would soon be implemented in 76 villages in the provinces of Kermanshah, Ilam, Sistan-Baluchestan, and Kurdestan.

Under the scheme, rural historical houses will be turned either into tourist and cultural attractions with craft workshops or accommodations for both Iranian and foreign tourists. The plan will benefit the original residents of the homes, besides creating work for the local people.

According to published data, the rural population in 1956 comprised 70% of the population of 19 million. In 2015 it had declined to 28% for a population of over 79 million.

Railway connecting Northern Europe with Southeast Asia will impact Iran tourism

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Elaborating on the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), on which Iranian and Azerbaijani sides are working hard to fully launch, a Norway-based commentator suggested that the corridor could help in boosting the Islamic Republic’s tourism sector.

“The corridor would play a key role in improving Iran’s tourism industry as it is capable of facilitating tourists’ inflow to the country,” Mehrdad Seyed Asgari, a Norway-based Iranian financial analyst, told Trend.

The INSTC is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

Mehrdad Seyed Asgari also touched upon the new opportunities for cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan. He said that, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs already in possession of international standards and norms know-how could assist Iran in the improvement of the quality of its tourism sector.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Iran is the most inexpensive place to travel and invest. Nonetheless, the country ranked 93rd among 136 countries across 14 categories in the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the WEF.

In a bid to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure, Iran has launched several projects to build new hotels, but there is a need for bringing the quality of service to the international standards, the commentator said.

Over the current fiscal year (starting March 20) Iran has launched about 950 projects, worth $9 billion, to develop its tourism infrastructure, including 500 hotels and serviced apartments, Asgari added.

Estimating the shortage of knowledge and experience for improvement of the tourism services in Iran, he pointed out Azerbaijan’s breakthrough in its tourism sector over the past years and suggested that Azerbaijani entrepreneurs would be capable of transferring their know-how to the Islamic Republic.

Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report indicated that Azerbaijan, at 71st position, was one of the most improved economies, rising 13 places in the global rankings.

The expert further forecasted a bright future for the whole tourism industry in the world, as the sharp slump in oil prices, which are unlikely to surge considerably in the near future, have left a positive impact on tourism sector.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry had contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy (10.2 percent of global GDP) and generated 292 million jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.

Pottery inscription unearthed in Iran

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Public Affairs Department at Cultural Heritage and Tourism Research Institute reported a major discovery in southeastern Iran.

The milestone discovery of the third season of excavations in the historic hill of Takhcharabad in Birjand County of Iran’s southeastern Province of South Khorasan is a broken piece of pottery with a Pahlavi inscription on it.

“This piece of pottery was inscribed by a sharped-edge instrument before the pottery dried,” said Mohsen Dana, the authority in charge of the third season of archeological explorations in the historic hill of Takhcharabad.

Mr. Dana recounted that architectural ruins of high value like walls, ovens, spaces, and floors have been found in this season of explorations, as well as precious artefacts like pottery pieces, sharpening stones, and tools.

 “At the end of this season, the exterior plan of the area has been fully searched and the highest tips of the hill has been unearthed by the depth of the 1.5 meters,” highlighted the archeologist.

He says that this part of the search has revealed that the building upon the hill is an irregular circle with six filed towers around it made of layered clay bricks.

According to the researchers, the building had been built upon Achaemenid ruins consciously filed with stone and sand by constructors at late phase of the Iron Age in the era of the Parthian Empire.

More western tourists and less Arab are visiting Iran

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Official statistics show that the number of tourists from Iraq and the Persian Gulf littoral states visiting Iran has decreased in 2016 and 2017, while that of European and American visitors to the country has witnessed a remarkable growth since August 2015.

Although, compared to last year’s figure, the overall number of foreign tourists to Iran has reduced 6.9 percent in the current Iranian year (started mid-March 2017), statistics indicate that the decrease pertains to the number of visitors from the Persian Gulf littoral states, and not that of the European and American ones.

According to a Farsi report by ISNA, the director-general of Iran’s Office for Planning and Supporting Expansion of Tourism Industry, Abdolreza Mohajeri-Nejad, said over 1.14 million foreign tourists travelled to Iran during March 21-June 21, 2017.

This comes as, in the same period last year, the figure stood at more than 1.18 million, up by 6.9 percent, he added.

Mohajeri-Nejad said the decline in the number of tourists from the Persian Gulf littoral states and Iraq is the main reason for the drop in the average number of foreign visitors to the country during the three-month period.

“The number of visitors from these states to Iran was subject to a 9-percent decrease, year-on-year, in the said timespan, under the impact of the country’s weakened ties with the Persian Gulf littoral states – following the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and diplomatic mission in Tehran and Mashhad (eastern Iran) in early 2016 – insecurities in the regional states and unfavorable economic condition in Iraq and Syria.”

The downward trend has continued in the past two years, he added.

Mohajeri-Nejad said from March 2016 to March 2017, the average total number of foreign tourists to Iran (over 4.91 million) was also 5.2 percent less than that of the same 12-month period ending mid-March 2016.

However, he said, despite the decrease in the number of tourists from regional countries to Iran during the 15-month period to June 21, 2017, that of European and American visitors to the country has grown 56.6 percent in the same duration.

“The increase has occurred as a result of the going into effect of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) [signed in July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1].”

Mohajeri-Nejad added from August 2015 to March 2017, a total of 478,826 tourists from western states, particularly Europe, travelled to Iran. This is while, prior to the signing of the JCPOA, from December 2013 to June 2015, the figure stood at 35,852, he said.

He expressed the hope that in case the upward trend in the number of European and American tourists to Iran would continue, the country will definitely manage to achieve the targets stipulated in Iran’s Vision 2025.

As per the Vision 2025, Iran’s annual income from tourism sector is required to reach $25 billion (20 billion tourists per year) in eight years from now. To achieve the target, the country needs to be a destination for 5.1 percent of the total global number of tourists per year.

American tourists to Iran not slowed down, No restrictions on issuing Iran visa to US citizens

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The tourist flow from the U.S. to Iran has not been slowed down as its year-on-year rate shows no decrease in the stream, says the chief executive of the Iranian Tour Operators Association.

“U.S. tourist arrivals to Iran have not come to a halt and the number of inbound tourists from the U.S. during the current Iranian year (which started March 21, 2017) shows no reduction in comparison to that of the same period last year,” ISNA quoted Ebrahim Pourfaraj as saying on Friday.

He ruled out recent allegations by the U.S. State Department that claims Iran denies to grant visas to American nationals, saying, “The Iranian Foreign Ministry has maintained its previous procedure towards [applicant] American citizens despite all the threats and counteractions that the U.S. government has taken.”

Last Tuesday, the U.S. State Department issued a travel warning, advising American and dual-national citizens about traveling to Iran of potential risks for being arrested or detained.

Pourfaraj asserted there is no restrictions for American travelers to visit the country. “Though the procedure of issuing visas is becoming more time-consuming, it does not mean that there is more stringency or a negative response towards American citizens.”

“The Foreign Ministry has responded to all [visa] requests after receiving documents and completing formal process. Besides, so far no negative reports have been received from any tourism agencies in that regard,” he explained.

Following a landmark nuclear deal clinched between Iran and world powers in 2015, which resulted in the lifting of some economic sanctions, Iran now finds itself back on travel brochures and is scrambling to up its standards to cater to the demands of potential foreign travelers. Many tour operators say the demand has been so acute that they are racing to add new departures and selling them in record time.

Iran hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments, including 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and its varied terrain ranges from desert locales to ski resorts.

Iran attracts more Western tourists

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Iran attracts more Western tourists

 wonderfully amazing trip

At least 1,148 million tourists visited Iran during the first three months of the current financial year (20 March-21 June), Abdolreza Mohajerinejad, an official of the Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Tourism Organization Of Iran.

The figure shows a decrease of 9.6 per cent compared to the same period of the previous year, said Mohajerinejad, director of the Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Organization Tourism Development and Planning Bureau Of tourism, the ISNA news agency reported on 23 August.

Autumn is mainly related to the decline in the number of tourists from the northern states and the Persian Gulf, he said.

Nevertheless, the number of tourists from the EU and the US who visit #Iran is increasing added Mohajerinejad.

Without disclosing the exact number of Western tourists who visited Iran during the period, Mohajerin stated that during the 15-month period from March 2016 to June 2017, their number increased by 56.6% the previous year.

More than 4,911 million tourists visited Iran during the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2017), indicating a decline of 2.5 percent year-on-year, he said.

According to Mohajerinejad, the number of tourists from the northern states and Iraq decreased by 9.9 percent in one year.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials earlier announced that the number of tourist flows over the past year had increased by 33% to reach six million visitors.

Iran’s annual tourism income, over the past year, increased by 11 percent to 8.3 billion.

Iran Hotel Prices Don’t Include Amenities Like GYM, SPA or Swimming pool, because government sets room rates

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The price of a room in hotels around the world, at least in four- and five-star properties, is based on the type of room, breakfast and free (or significantly discounted) use of amenities.

Amenities include the gym, spa, swimming pool and even WiFi connection, as well as any other facilities the hotel management sees fit to offer along with the room.

Surprisingly, this is not the case in Iran, despite the fact that the country is lagging in its attempt to meet its ambitious target of 20 million tourists a year by 2025.

Hoteliers say they are forced to charge extra for amenities that would normally be offered free of charge elsewhere, blaming Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization’s regulations.

Room rates in Iran are set by ICHHTO and they only include the price of the room and breakfast, leaving hotel owners to set their own fees for other services.

“This problem is rooted in the fact that room rates in Iran aren’t liberalized,” Jamshid Hamzehzadeh, president of Iran Hoteliers Association, was quoted as saying by ISNA.

Hamzehzadeh has been a vocal critic of the government’s disinclination to deregulate hotel fees and he says this has forced hoteliers’ hands.

“In no other country do you see the government setting hotel prices,” he added.

The organization argues that hotels may abuse a liberalized market, because their service quality is too inferior to merit the rates that they would likely impose.

Vali Teymouri, director of the Monitoring of Tourism Services Office at ICHHTO, said the problem can be overcome if hoteliers are honest with their guests.

“Hotels sign contracts with travel agencies and guests, in which they are supposed to clearly state the prices they charge for services not included in the room rate,” he was quoted by travel news website Donyaye Safar as saying.

The official said problems arise when transparency takes a backseat.

“Hotel guests will not be surprised if they know exactly how much everything costs before hand,” Teymouri said.

Nevertheless, Hamzehzadeh said the association is “seriously pursuing” deregulation of hotel rates.

“We haven’t been able to take this up with the organization because there’s no stability in upper management,” he said, referring to frequent staff changes at the highest levels of ICHHTO.

“So we’ve taken our request to the parliament and hope to get the desired result.”