Iran a unique destination for Chinese tourists
The friendly relationship between Iran and China goes back to the inception of the Silk Road in the ancient times. The existence of close affinities between the two nations, such as having a rich civilizations, keen interests on cherishing the relics of the ancient times, insatiable curiosity to discover the unknown places could convince the peoples of both countries to travel and have firsthand experience of understanding such similarities.
Iran is very eager to deepen its cooperation with China, and frequently holds exhibitions in China, in order to promote Iranian art, literature and culture.
Similarly, China’s Confucius Institute, which was established in the University of Tehran, shoulders the responsibility of offering cultural and educational activities between Iran and China. Moreover, during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tehran in 2016 both sides signed several agreements in many areas such as cultural exchange and tourism.
Iran with four seasons, four thousand years of civilization and numerous historical and cultural monuments could be a unique destination for Chinese tourists.
The northern provinces of Iran, such as Gilan, and Mazandaran, with lots of beautiful jungles, favorable climate, delicious local food and beautiful handicrafts are considered the paradise of Iran. In addition, the existence of great hiking trails, and streams suited for fishing, make those provinces the most popular destinations for nature enthusiasts.
The northwestern provinces such as east Azerbaijan, west Azerbaijan and Ardabil, the most archaic territories in Iran, with rich history, great traditional architecture, local delicious confectionery, which are unique in Iran, and impeccable wonderful nature turn those provinces to one of the most popular destinations during vacations for the city residents and travelers.
The western provinces such as Hamadan and Kurdistan, with mild climate, beautiful jungles and waterfalls, and mysterious caves, would be great places for those who want to experience the sheer spirit of adventure.
Esfahan and Shiraz are the birthplace of Persian civilization, with numerous historical gardens, gorgeous bridges and great monuments, attracting lots of visitors from all over the world, including China.
Tehran the capital of Iran, with its various historical gardens and museums, provide the tourists with an opportunity to experience the delight of Persian Empire. Moreover, Mount Tochal offers an excellent challenge for mountaineers. At the top of this mountain, there is also a small ski piste.
And finally the southern islands of Iran, such as Hendorabi island “pristine Island”, Hormuz Island “Rainbow Island”, Qeshm Island “Island of seven Wonders” , and Kish Island “the pearl of the Middle East”, are quiet and calm islands with beautiful beaches. They would be right choices for those who want to stay away from the bustle of cities.
Traveling in Iran is safe, cheap and interesting for Chinese tourists. Masoud Soltanifar, former vice-president and chairman of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism mentioned, said that “Iran is a secure country in a relatively unsecure region and has a lot of natural and cultural sites which are worth visiting”.
Iran possesses huge tourism potential. However, according to the statistics released by Iranian government, “120,000 Iranian visited China, while only 95,000 Chinese visited Iran in 2017”. In order to attract more tourists from both countries, Iran and China aim to deepen tourism cooperation. To this end, China’s Belt and Road Initiative could afford both nations an opportunity to enhance tourism industry. The new Silk Road could also be a tourism route linking Iranian and Chinese nations.
Chinese tourists would have a great time by meeting hospitable people in Iran and buying wonderful Iranian souvenirs such as rug tableau, saffron, rose water, special confectionary, and unique handicrafts.
Behzad Abdollahpour is a postgraduate student, at the faculty of World Studies, University of Tehran.