France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has relaxed its travel advisory for Iran, now considering large swathes of the country safe for travel.A statement on the ministry’s official website reads: “Leisure and business trips to certain parts of Iran are possible, including Ardabil, Shiraz, Isfahan, Yazd, Kashan, Hamedan, Tabriz, Rasht, Gorgan and Tehran, as well as the islands of Kish and Qeshm, and the archeological site of Susa in Khuzestan Province, but tourists must be vigilant,” ISNA reported.
The revised advice still warns against all travel to border areas with Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, while still advising against all but essential travel to regions bordering Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and the Persian Gulf, barring the islands of Kish and Qeshm.
The move could have significant impact on Iran’s tourism industry, since the country is regarded as an exotic, undiscovered destination to most westerners.
Following a breakdown in Iran-France relations in 2006, the European country warned its citizens against all non-essential travel to Iran.
However, the signing of the comprehensive nuclear accord between Iran and the six world powers (five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) on July 14 in Vienna, followed by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’ visit to Tehran, helped ease the travel warning France had in place against the Mideast country.
In a dramatic gesture of renewed friendship, Fabius, who became the first French foreign minister to visit Iran in 12 years, invited Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to make a state visit to France in November, The Guardian reported.
Domestic and foreign experts believe the Rouhani administration’s foreign policy, which aims to improve Iran’s global profile, has created a conducive atmosphere to strengthening diplomatic relations with other countries.
In late July, French daily Le Figaro labeled the historic nuclear deal “a boon for travel agencies” in an exclusive report that also pointed to a fivefold increase in the number of French citizens eager to explore Iran.
Last month, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office revoked a travel advisory it had in place against Iran since 2011, with Foreign Minister Secretary Phillip Hammond citing “decreasing hostility under President Rouhani” and “reduced risk to British nationals” as the driving forces of the decision.