Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to expand your tourism business in Iran - Part 2/3

Part two
Now suppose the Emirates Group wants to expand its operations in Iran

traditional restaurant in Tehran
Traditional Restaurant in Tehran
I take this sample, with a focus on Tourism industry to cover the question number one and two in the assignment. Therefore, we consider the Emirates Group possible policies to expand its activities in Iran, while we are considering the tourism industry in Iran, which can play a key role in public wealth, growing GDP and build a long term and recession proof business field.
The importance of tourism in Iran appears obvious when you look at Iran’s potentials and attractions to travelers, while there has been a minimum and next to nothing attention to this field.
According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Iran's travel and tourism demand is set to grow by 6.6 percent for the next ten-year period topping the list of Middle East countries. This can be caused by different points which we will discuss now, and then we will back to our main question “How The Emirates Group can expand business in Tourism field?”

Tourism Industry in Iran
Iran’s potential in tourism industry is non-negotiable and obvious. The diversification of climate, nature sceneries and historical attractions are just samples that make Iran incomparable to many other countries in the world.
Iran has jungles, mounts, sea and desert simultaneously in all 4 seasons, which in the top ten countries regarding their income of tourism only United States of America (seed 2) and China (seed 4) have the same opportunity, while US is making 80 Billion USD, which is 20% more than whole Iran’s government’s budget in the current year.
The landscape of Iran is diverse and beautiful, providing a range of activities from hiking and skiing in the Alborz Mountains, to beach holidays by the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.
Iran can serve a variety of travelers, regarding the attractions explained:
1.    Nature and Eco Tourists
2.    Sport tourists: you can Ski in Iran 8 months a year or ride a buggy in the deserts, kiting, mountain climbing, diving etc almost 12 months
3.    Medical tourism
Iran is well-known and famous for its surgeons and doctors. CNN reported “Iran: Nose Job Capital of World” in 2006, because of number of beauty surgeries done in the country during past years.
4.     Historical tourism
Iran has 4000 years of civilization, which has left lots of historical monuments and attractions.
5.    Business travelers
6.    Cultural Tourists

Tourism problems and challenges in Iran
Tourism declined dramatically during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and never revived properly afterward. Iranian governors have paid most of their attention to local tourism rather than foreigners. Despite the importance of local tourism which will cause distribution of wealth among Iranian, we have to keep in mind foreign tourism imports money and wealth which is excessively more important to the country’s economy.
waterfall in Lorestan
Waterfall in Lorestan
The main challenge Iran’s tourism industry faces, is lack of proper infrastructures for travelers and tourism firms. Other issues are of lower priority in my belief: financing problems, sanctions and embargos, lack of promotion and advertising campaigns, cultural differences and social codes etc.
So the companies which want to establish a tourism business in Iran, or expanding their operations in this field should be prepared for such challenges. Just to give the case an example, in Iran there’s no integrated payment system connected to international banking system. There is a local network between banks called Shetab, which can’t be accessed from Visa, MasterCard etc. and cannot be connected to an Int’l merchant account as well. In Iran there is no online hotel reservation system.
Airlines, Airports and roads are another major problem in Tourism infrastructure. Poor quality of all above means of travelling is clear and undisputed.  
Extending infrastructure problems to tourism sites: Iran lacks in public services for tourists. There are no hotels in many small cities despite the potential they have for a long period of visits. There are problems in basic issues like public bathrooms, restaurants, cafes etc.
Lack of knowledge in touring and tour guiding is another issue, I consider it structural problem.

in the 3rd part I will discuss the main challenges and opportunities Emirates Group will face in Iran.
Please kindly let me have your comments and feed backs.

1 comment:

al_feel said...

I think the biggest problem is a lack of investment. All the others - aircraft, facilities, accommodation, promotion - can be solved by finances. But Iran haven't enough them, as I know.

Thanks a lot for the article. I'll translate in and post in my blog iranofil.blogspot.com.