Nowadays, various countries are relying on influencers as an effective strategy in order to market their tourism capacities. Countries can display their tourism capacities with the help of influencers and this has been welcomed as a new method for marketing in different areas.
Iran has also attended the influencers’ project. The marketing project of Iranian tourism, titled “Feel Iran” was executed by the private sector and facilitated by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts. Twelve influencers, with a total of more than 20 million followers from Italy, Ukraine, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey, France, the U.S., Sweden, Georgia, and China traveled to Iran in the form of a tourist-attraction project. However, this project has sparked the fire of opposition while has absorbed some advocates.
Recently, some Instagram influencers have shared their experiences about the beauties, security and enjoyment of traveling to IRAN; a country with thousands of years of civilization history.
A question remains unanswered here:is the familiarization trip project an objective necessity for Iran’s tourism industry? Given the status quo, are there any other options for Iran to introduce its tourism capacities?
Successful experiences in this area in other countries can be a good guide for the tourism industry in Iran. One of these countries is Australia that employs influencers to develop its tourism industry. “Australia is fortunate that it is a highly aspirational destination for travelers internationally,” said Lisa Ronson, the marketing manager of Australian tourism industry. She announced that more than 200 influencers from Australia and other countries are working in the Australian tourism industry and referred to the significant role of social media and other marketing platforms in developing tourism and attracting tourists to this country.
Recently, the Australian tourism industry has started the Dundee campaign. This campaign is one of the biggest tourism marketing campaigns in this country and famous actors such as Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride participate in it.
Nowadays, many countries abuse the cultural assets of Iran in order to make destinations for tourists. For example, hand-made carpets have always belonged to Iranian culture and even China couldn’t copy and possess it. However, in recent years, Turkey has created beautiful frames for carpet photography and attracted more than 2 million foreign tourists annually to Cappadocia.
Another example is Russia’s Saint Petersburg which attracts many tourists every year to take photographs with the tiles of some mosques that are barely two decades old! All of these examples are a warning alarm for the confiscation of Iranian historic achievements.
After a simple investigation of the strategy implemented in Australia and other touristic countries, one can conclude that Iran has chosen the correct strategy to utilize the capacities of influencers, but it is only the beginning. There is a need for a coherent plan to be able to pave the way for future growth in tourist attraction.
Recently, some Instagram influencers have shared their experiences about the beauties, security and enjoyment of traveling to a country with thousands of years of civilization history. They have visited and stayed in Tehran, Shiraz, Isfahan and Kashan and shared their photos and videos on IG and the analysis of their feedback can show us the picture of the project’s success. These 12 influential tourists arrived in Iran on October 5th and stayed for a week or so (some left sooner and some later) in the abovementioned cities.
These influencers have started to introduce Iran in their IG pages as well as other social media networks so that their IG posts about Iran have been liked about 1,872,000 times in total and are estimated to be viewed at least 10 million times by people from around the world. In addition, the page of the project (@feeliran) has also been posting their photos with a total of 2 million likes and estimated 10 million views.
Familiarization trip projects for influencers from different countries can have a complementary effect for visa waiver program conducted by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts and the “Feel Iran” project is a good example of a successful project, from which both the private sector and the government are benefited.
Facilitating future familiarization trips for the private sector can upgrade the share of Iran in the world tourism industry as the third most important and growing industry throughout the world. With the least possible costs, this method of marketing can bring the highest possible output for Iran.
The author is the deputy director for public relations and information office at the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.