Iran travel agencies eye attractive options

Tehran, Iran, February 7

By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:

As Iran is freed from sanctions and all the country's economic sectors are looking forward to being connected to the world, travel agencies say they are looking forward to having more options to offer to their customers.

Sanctions on Iran started being lifted following the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was announced January 16.

The Iranian aviation industry was one of the areas hit worst by decades of isolation. Under the sanctions, the country could neither import airplanes nor buy parts or maintenance service.

"So far Iran's only direct flight abroad used to be managed by Iran Air. If British Airways and others come, there will be more travel options," Mahbubeh Madannejad, CEO at Sahel Aram Parvaz travel agency told Trend February 7.

The British airline followed Air France-KLM in confirming its intention to restart flights to Tehran after Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for the lifting of U.S., EU and United Nations sanctions in January.

The deal has sparked hopes that Iran could secure a wave of foreign investment for the country of 80 million people after President Hassan Rouhani visited Europe two weeks ago.

"The recent lifting of sanctions opens up exciting new prospects for Iran as a tourist destination and with its rich heritage, unique architecture and world-class food it's unsurprising Tehran is tipped to

be a popular destination for 2016," said Neil Cottrell, BA's head of network planning, on February 3.

Post-sanctions Iran is set to be an enticing market for Western aircraft makers. During Rouhani's Europe tour, Iran agreed to buy 118 Airbus jets worth $27 billion at list prices, including a dozen A380 superjumbos.

"Higher quality and less flight delays will encourage Iranians to use more and more of aviation services," Madannejad said. Babak Feizi, CEO of Sepid Gasht travel agency told Trend that once new

airplanes are added to the Iranian fleet, competition will tighten and airline services will become better ordered, helping public trust and willingness to travel by air.

Iranians used to complain of how decrepit airplanes were and how unsafe they felt on board them. Airplane crashes have been numerous in recent years as a result of the age of the airplanes, which surpasses 25 years in average.

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