Iran negotiates with Azerbaijan, Turkey to expand tourism
Tehran, Iran, July 31
Iran is negotiating with Azerbaijan and Turkey to expand maritime tourism, although the US sanctions against Iran and its vessels present one of the main obstacles in expanding tourism in the Caspian Sea.
Masoud Shirinkalam, Secretary of Tourism Commission at Iran Chamber of Commerce, discussed the plans to expand maritime tourism in an interview with Trend.
"Expansion of maritime tourism is visible through use of the Persian Gulf coasts and commercializing the Caspian Sea by setting tours. The ships that can harbor on the side of coast in the Caspian Sea may run tours in six Caspian Sea states," he said.
"The commission has looked into the matter. Considering current sanctions, we need to find investors that are willing to cooperate with local officials and provincial governments in two Northern provinces in order to attract more people in maritime tourism," he noted.
"Iran was in talks with several Turkish investors, but they yielded no results so far. We also held negotiations with Azerbaijan and maritime experts in Baku, with whom we discussed the high costs of renting and buying ships, but no conclusions have been made," he said referring to negotiations to run tours with other Caspian Sea member states.
"We have not discussed this issue with Russia, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan yet. As for Turkey and Azerbaijan, they are inclined to expand tourism ties, but the US sanctions against the vessels caused delay in our work with potential investors," he added.
"Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization that promotes the plan is expected to draft instructions on maritime tourism in line with the standards of other Caspian Sea states and to work with Port and Maritime Organization of Iran and Iran Chamber of Commerce to expand Iran's tourism," he noted.
"Another issue is lifting visa requirement, which is a diplomatic one. Iran's Chamber of Commerce is in favor of it, but the decision is to be made by Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If this problem is solved, it will allow economy to be preferred over politics," he said referring to negotiations with Ministry of Foreign Affairs to facilitate maritime tourism.
"Turning tourism into a flourished trade in Iran requires support from both the public and private sectors. First, we need to review ways to expand domestic tourism, analyze problems in this field and establish facilities for domestic tourists, and this will definitely pave the way for developing foreign tourism," he added.