Why Iran might be a venue of choice for holidaymakers

Tehran
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IRAN IS hoping to attract more UK visitors in light of the newly thawed relationship between the two countries.

The Middle Eastern nation has sent its largest delegation to travel trade exhibition World Travel Market (WTM) - which is being held at the ExCeL convention centre in east London - in a bid to convince tour operators and travel agents to take holidaymakers there.

Iran boasts 19 Unesco world heritage sites and even has over a dozen ski resorts.

A survey of 2,050 WTM visitors, including executives from travel firms and tourism organisations, found that a third expect to do more business in Iran next year.

Last month UK tour operator Cox and Kings announced it will start selling holidays to Iran in 2016.

But it appears that most British holidaymakers are yet to be convinced by the virtues of a trip to Iran. Just 16% said they were interested in visiting the country in the future, according to a WTM poll of 1,036 adults who took a minimum seven-day summer holiday this year.

Relations between Iran and the UK began to improve after the former struck a historic international deal with world powers on its nuclear programme, with some sanctions being lifted in return for allowing inspections.

The Foreign Office has eased its advice against travelling to the country, saying the risk faced by British nationals has changed in some regions.

The UK also reopened its embassy in Tehran in August, nearly four years after it was closed following an attack by protesters.

Philip Hammond became the first British foreign secretary to visit the capital since 2003 when he attended the unveiling ceremony.