Update: Tour Companies Cancel Some Iran Trips

by admin February 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm
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Many travel companies saw Iran as an emerging destination for American travelers who wanted to see ancient ruins and ornate mosques.

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Maryam Rahmanian for The New York Times

Operators that organize trips to Iran have begun canceling tours citing difficulty in securing visas for American travelers in the wake of President Trump’s executive order barring citizens from seven majority Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days.

Though the order, issued on Jan. 27, has been blocked in a federal court, and citizens of the affected countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen may resume travel, Americans may not be able to enter Iran as tourists for the next few months.

Wilderness Travel, which is based in Berkeley, Calif., canceled its April and May departures after its Iranian counterparts advised the company that Iran is presently not issuing travel visas to Americans.

“No visas will be issued for American citizens for the next 90 days, and it is not clear what will happen after that date,” Barbara Banks, the director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel, said in an email. “The increase of interest in travel to Iran had been a wonderful development; cultural exchange and understanding is the foundation for a peaceful world. We hope that this unfortunate situation will be resolved, and look forward to an end to the travel restrictions on both sides.”

SmarTours, based in New York, had begun selling its first trips to Iran in January. It has canceled its initial July departure, but it hopes to begin monthly departures in August.

“We are confident that we will be able to send lots of travelers to Iran in 2017,” Greg Geronemus, the co-chief executive of SmarTours, said in an email. “The strong push back from the judicial system in the U.S. gives us confidence that the executive order will not hold up, and our conversations with our partners in Iran clearly suggest that Iran will reverse its reciprocal ban once matters are settled in the U.S.”

Abercrombie & Kent had scheduled four departures this year of its 12-day trip to Iran, with the first coming in May. The company has canceled the May trip, citing visa uncertainty. A company representative said most of those guests booked in May have expressed interest in a fall trip, and Abercrombie & Kent still plans to have departures in September and October.

Other tour companies such as Intrepid Travel and Cox & Kings have said they will continue to offer Iran trips, which are popular with foreign travelers who are not American. Mir Corporation, a Seattle-based tour operator that has been guiding trips in Iran for nearly 20 years, has not canceled its small-group trips for spring continues to sell its fall departures .

Until recent events, Iran was viewed by many travel companies as an emerging destination for American travelers keen to visit ancient ruins and ornate mosques.

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