Thursday, 19 October, 2017

For tourists; Reserve accommodation in Iran for €20-€300 a night

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A Swiss company has opened an Airbnb-style accommodation service in Iran

OrientStay, which began operating two weeks ago, lists 200 flats in nine cities including Iran’s top tourist destination of Isfahan.

So far five foreign customers have reserved accommodation, two of whom are currently visiting Iran, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

At a time when Iran is experiencing a tourism boom, OrientStay offers an alternative to hotels booked through travel agencies and tour operators.

Prices range from €20-€300 a night for one- to five-bedroom accommodation.

“Iran has a total of 1,500 hotels and these days when you want to reserve a room, all of them are full. The country has a lack of accommodation and more foreigners want to visit,” the site’s director, Mehrzad Khoï, told the Guardian.

In August, President of Iran’s tour operators association Ibrahim Poorfaraj said that top four and five star hotels in Iran’s major cities including Isfahan, Yazd, Tehran, Shiraz and Ahvaz have been booked by foreign tourists through 2016

“But above all, our concept is to offer foreign tourists an authentic and real experience of Iran. We want them to see the real people, which is usually the biggest surprise for them.” Khoï added.

“By doing this, we want to change the image of Iran worldwide. We want foreign tourists to experience our way of life, our culture, and not as part of ready-made, 10-member tours. We don’t want them to just see the nice ancient monuments, we want them to see the people. When tourists see the people, the image is more real and satisfaction is much better.”

OrientStay, which has gained permission from the Iranian authorities to operate, is available only to incoming tourists, not resident Iranians. It takes all payment methods, giving it an advantage over hotels which cannot accept foreign cards because of banking restrictions.

This gives it an advantage over hotels that cannot accept foreign cards because of banking restrictions.

Xanyar Kamangar, a founding partner of the Iran-focused asset management and private equity group Griffon Capital, said his firm was considering investing in the project.

“It looks like OrientStay has fixed some of the issues that an Airbnb business model would have in a country like Iran,” he said at the conference. “Iran’s ministry of culture and Islamic guidance has realised that there is a shortage of hotel rooms and came to the conclusion to help this service.”

Khoï, an Iranian-French businessman, said his company had advertised to find the first 200 flats, and the plan was for people to come forward to add their properties to the site. Those willing to participate would have to apply through OrientStay, which would refer them to the authorities to obtain permission.

Khoï said the site would soon launch a tour guide service. Tourists from some countries, including Britain and the US, are required to have tour guides during their stay in Iran.

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1 Comment

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