Iranian and Austrian companies signed an agreement on Wednesday to facilitate the travel of Austrian tourists around Iran via railroads.
The memorandum of understanding, signed between Iran’s Arzesh Afarinan Fadak Company and three noted Austrian firms involved in the tourism and hospitality industries, paves the way for the establishment of the first-ever tourism train between the two states, Mehr News Agency reported.
Masoud Soltanifar, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, and Mohsen Pourseyyed Aqaei, CEO of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Company, oversaw the signing of the agreement.
Recalling the success of the European luxury train named Jewels of Persia, Soltanifar said Iran’s capacity for rail tourism will double in the near future.
Soltanifar, who is also a vice president, added that Iran’s political stability and all-round security help attract tourists.
He said developing transportation infrastructure is paramount to tourism and emphasized that “despite a lack of resources, projects to develop infrastructure in this sector are underway”.
Soltanifar said expansion of Iran’s railroad network will help develop domestic and international tourism and reduce costs.
Aqaei said his company is committed to developing Iran’s rail tourism. “The success of the luxury train prompted us to set up our own tourism trains and this agreement is the first step toward realizing that goal,” he said.
The 25-million-euro project is expected to take six months to complete, according to IRNA. In October, a number of Austrian tour operators are set to evaluate Iran’s tourism potential as a new holiday destination for the Central European nation.
Iran is gradually reclaiming its place as a top destination for westerners, as evidenced by reports last month that the number of European tourists to Iran tripled during March 2014-15.