Monday, June 21, 2004

Mar'ashi puts a stop to dual pricing practice for tourist attractions in Iran

: "Iran to stop dual pricing practice for tourist attractions


TEHRAN, June 20 (AFP) - Iran's tourist office has ordered museums and historical sites to cease the Soviet-style practice of charging foreigners up to 10 times more than locals, the student news agency ISNA reported Sunday.

Removing one of the many frustrating aspects of a visit to Iran, the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation also ordered attractions to provide English and French speaking guides and pamphlets free of charge.

At present, foreigners typically have to pay around four dollars for each tourist attraction, significantly more than the fee charged for Iranians.

But while tourists can in the future enjoy Iran's splendours at next to no cost, the order does not apply to hotels -- which also practice a dual pricing policy aimed at extracting the maximum amount of money from foreign visitors.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States and the subsequent invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran has experienced a sharp drop in foreign visitors.

Complex visa procedures, a poor reputation for service and the imposition of the Islamic dress code also make many tourists reluctant to travel to Iran -- home to some of the greatest architectural sites in the world."

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