Say the word Persia to Europeans or North Americans and the conversation is likely to move to fine art, ceramics, tiles, carpets or poets. Say the word Iran and the topic of terrorism or religious fundamentalism are most likely to arise. This is quite odd, as Persia and modern-day Iran are indeed the same land. Iranian tourist organisations intend to change this situation and promote local tourist attractions.
Whilst recognising that tourism is vital to Iran, the government also admits that their country is not yet prepared for an influx of tourists. Iranians have not yet managed to promote their hotels potential visitors. A further problem is that many leading figures of the Iranian tourist industry and tourist organisations fail to agree on a concrete plan to improve this situation. Therefore, the government has taken a decision to outsource this activity.
$20 will be awarded to any agency or individual successful in helping to tempt a European or North American to Iran for tourist purposes. Similarly, the Iranian government has started making it easier particularly for American citizens to enter the country by introducing on on-line visa application service. The Iranians are keen to stress that their disagreements are with the US administration but not the US citizens. For example, Ahmadinejad Mahmoud, the Iranian president, has opened nuclear sites for foreign tourists’ visits.