Opening up Iran?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Suddenly, part of the world has become a little less inviting for tourists.

Cruising might have opened Iran up for more tourists

With the bushfires and the killing of the Iranian, Qasem Soleimani, in Iraq, there are people wondering whether to travel to Australia or the Middle East.

Australia withdrew its Kylie Minogue promotion campaign until, well who knows? The bush fires have burnt such large parts of the country including a luxury lodge on Kangaroo Island and may continue until substantial rains come.

 The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) sent out a spate of e-mails warning against travel to Iran and Iraq, reminding people about Lebanon and Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen due to other instabilities.

Not that many British and Irish travel to many of these at the moment countries but they do to others. Whilst the FCO didn’t suggest people shouldn’t visit nearby countries such as the UAE, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait some people might be getting nervous since the warning was for British residents to be – in the time-worn phrase the FCO uses – vigilant.

About 1.5 million Britons visit the UAE each year. Dubai has become very popular for both short-breaks and for people starting Middle Eastern cruises from there. Dubai has poured a lot of money into growing its tourism industry and other emirates such as Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Ras al-Khaimah have done the same. Qatar sees about 150,000 Britons each year and about 25,000 visit other parts of the region.

It is cruising that has widened tourism to other parts of the gulf and more cruise lines are adding tours to their itineraries allowing visits into the hinterlands. Cruises visit Dubai. Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain in the main but only those visiting Oman go through the Straits of Hormuz, a stretch of water where two navy ships now escort British vessels.

The Persian Gulf seemed an ideal conduit for the opening up of cruises to Iran as well with coastal ports of Bandar Lengeh and the island of Qeshm being possible sites for cruise calls.

We have probably seen the end of that idea for a while to come!

As I said, part of the world has become a little less inviting for tourists but then, wasn’t it ever so?

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