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THE biggest drawback to Iran’s tourism is its international reputation regarding its nuclear plans. But following a new approach to tourism that outlines plans for aggressive marketing, Iran threw open its nuclear power plant in Bushehr in Southern Iran to tourists on March 31 on the occasion of Nauroz, the Iranian New Year. The Islamic nation’s 20-Year Vision, which expects Iran to account for two per cent of international tourists by 2025, documents tourism project investment of over $32 billion and lists plans to tackle ills such as weak advertising, unstable regional conditions, a poor public image in some parts of the world, and absence of efficient planning schemes. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council real GDP

Iran: the listings
General Information
International Tel Code: +98 Area Codes: Bandar Abbas 761, Bushehr 771, Damghan 2333, Esfahan 311, Hamadan 811, Kerman 341, Kermanshah 831, Mashhad 511, Rasht 131, Shiraz 711, Tabriz 411, Tehran 21, Yazd 351, Zahedan 541. Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA), Tehran Tel: +9821 51006015 Fax: +9821 44666925 Iran Air Tel: +9821 46623233 Fax: +9821 46625904 Currency: Iran Rial (IRR) Exchange rate: 1 USD = 9,593 IRR (March 2008) Visas: Entry/Transit/Tourist and Pilgrimage visas are available at the airport on arrival subject to conditions and terms set by the authorities. Airport Visa is issued at Mehrabad Airport for 72 hours for businessmen. Airport Transit Visa is issued for 48 hours to applicants intending to transit Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tehran Tel: +9821 2161151 Fax: +9821 2166743

growth for the sector is expected to be -7.3 per cent in 2009 and to average 4.3 per cent per annum over the coming 10 years. The Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism organization (ICHHTO) said the country experienced a 100 per cent growth in foreign tourist arrivals until 2007. In mid-2008, 2.5million travellers had already visited the country. Following an enormous increase in the number of German tourists travelling to Iran in 2008, the tourism department has announced a €4m ($5.2m) contract with German tourist firms on marketing and advertising Iran’s tourism industry. As part of its ongoing marketing efforts, Iran attended 21 international tourism exhibitions in various parts of the world in 2007-8.

Plans for 2009 include participation in 28 international tourism exhibitions. Two new Iranian Tourism Investment Offices opened in the last quarter of 2008, including Turkey and Italy. These will negotiate with parties interested in investing in Iran’s tourism sector. Also in October 2008, the seventh annual meeting of the Gulf Tourism Co-operation Committee recommended that GCC states introduce a single visa that would enable tourists to travel within the GCC countries and Iran. Iran has long been a target destination for travellers from the Arab states, Southeast Asia and Europe. The most popular tourist destinations are Esfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz.

According to Euromonitor, the Iranian low-cost airline easeon air is due to start operating in 2009. It will initially compete on domestic routes. Further to recent open skies agreements, more international airlines are also starting to fly to Iran. Last year, in June, Air Arabia launched a service to Shiraz four times a week. This is the budget airline’s second destination in Iran after Tehran. While there are not many international chains and hotel occupancy rates in some provinces of the country remain as low as 30 per cent, in June 2008 Lianmond Marine Hotel announced plans for a $450m property in the South Western Bushehr Province. | By Shalini Seth

Fax: +98511 8689200 www: 229 rooms, 3 F&B outlets Meeting facilities: conference hall Leisure facilities: pool, fitness club, Jacuzzi, sports facilities SHIRAZ Shiraz Homa Hotel Tel: +98711 2288000 Fax: +98711 2288014 www: 211 rooms, 23 suites, 5 F&B outlets Meeting facilities: 1 ballroom Leisure facilities: sauna, Jacuzzi, swimming pool, tennis courts


ESFAHAN Safir Hotel Tel: +98311 2222640 Fax: +98311 2232176 www: 60 suites, 3 F&B outlets Meeting facilities: business centre, conference hall, convention hall Leisure facilities: sauna, fitness centre, woman boutique, pool MASHAAD Mashhad Homa Hotel Tel: +98511 7611003 Fax: +98511 7610033 www: 114 rooms, 88 suites, 4 F&B outlets Leisure facilities: amusement park, fitness centre, sauna, pool, tennis court Pars International Hotel Tel: +98511 8689201

TEHRAN Tehran Homa Hotel Tel: +9821 88773021 Fax: +9821 88791780 www: 140 rooms, 33 suites, 4 F&B outlets Meeting facilities: 5 meetings rooms (up to 600) Leisure facilities: sauna, swimming pool, safe, shopping arcade & mini bar

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TABRIZ El Goli Park-Tabriz Tel: +98411 3807820 Fax: +98411 3808555 180 rooms, 1 F&B outlet Meeting facilities: business centre, 1 conference hall Leisure facilities: swimming pool, tennis court, fitness centre, shops Tabriz International Hotel Tel: +98411 3341081 Fax: +98411 3341080 www: 120 rooms, 2 suites, 3 F&B outlets

Airports 164 |

Shiraz – Shahid Dastghaib International Airport Tel/Fax: +98711 21948

International Car Rental Reservation System Tehran Station Tel: +9821 2550221-2226566 Fax: +9821 2250222 Tehran International Airport (Terminal 6) Tel: +9821 2193458 Fax: +9821 2250222 Isfahan (Esfahan) Station Tel: +98311 2215702 Fax: +98311 2216058 Mashhad Station Tel: +98511 3415060 Fax: +98511 3415060 Tabriz Station Tel: +98411 5560861 Fax: +98 411 5534790