New UK envoy to Iran hopes to boost tourism ties (exclusive)

New UK envoy to Iran hopes to boost tourism ties (exclusive)

Tehran, Iran, September 19

By Mehdi Sepahvand –- Trend:

The new British envoy in Iran, Nicholas Hopton hopes that during his tenure in Tehran, the tourism industry will see a huge boom in the land of the rich Persian culture.

“I think Iran offers huge potential for a developed tourism market as it used to have in the past…," the ambassador said Sept. 19 in an interview with Trend - his first with a news agency since appointment.

Hopton said that there is a great deal of interest from the British tourists and companies to explore and get to know Iran’s fantastic history and cultural heritage and enjoy the cuisine of Iran and the geography, he said.

Hopton was appointed as ambassador to Iran on September 5, after five years of disrupted diplomatic ties between Iran and the UK. Hopton previously served as the UK's ambassador to Qatar, and helped improve the tourism between the UK and the Arab country.

“Especially now that British Airways is flying directly between the countries, I would expect the tourism market to expand rapidly and in a very positive way benefiting the relationship between the two countries,” Hopton said.

A Boeing 777 of British Airways landed in Tehran September 2 after four years of the airways’ no flights to the Islamic Republic. The flights had been stopped in 2012 under international sanctions on Iran.

Hopton also welcomed the reopening of British and Iranian embassies as a major step toward the improvement of mutual relations, especially in the field of economy.

“We now have a very positive platform of full diplomatic relations to move the relationships forward across all the sectors.”

Britain and Iran called their ambassadors home in 2011 amid tautened political relations.

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