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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s move to relax its advice for travel to Iran is expected to lead to increased interest from adventure holidaymakers.
Advice against travel has been lifted for most parts of Iran, the FCO said on Saturday.
The FCO still advises against travel to the areas of Iran bordering Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan but has downgraded its previous guidance to avoid all but essential travel.
Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said: “Our policy is to recommend against travel to an area when we judge that the risk is unacceptably high. We consider that continues to be the case for specific areas of Iran, notably along Iran’s borders with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“But we believe that in other areas the risk has changed, in part due to decreased hostility under president Rouhani’s government.”
Intrepid Travel has already seen UK bookings double to the country since Iran’s historic deal to close its nuclear facilities was agreed on July 14, while bookings for the year to date are 50% up on last year.
UK managing director, Michael Edwards, said: “We consistently get fantastic feedback from our Iran tours – the ancient ruins, incredible architecture and especially the warm and friendly Iranian people.
“However, the Foreign Office advice has always been a barrier for many people who wanted to travel to Iran.”
He described the relaxing of FCO travel advice as being a “massive boost” for tourism to the country.
“It will make insurance easier to obtain and ensure more people feel comfortable travelling to this fascinating country,” aid Edwards.
“The key is to get there now before the country is well and truly on the tourism map.”
The introduction of an electronic visa would be the final step in opening up tourism to Iran, added Edwards, as Britons must travel to Dublin or Paris to obtain visas.
Intrepid plans 23 departures on its Iran Adventure trip next year, up from 21 in 2015. The operator said it would increase departures according to demand.
The 16-day tour starts from £1,765 per person, including accommodation, selected meals, ground transport and a local leader.
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