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Thu 1 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Mahan Destinations promotes Iran

Privately owned Iranian airline Mahan Air has launched a holidays division based in Dubai.

Privately owned Iranian airline Mahan Air has launched a holidays division based in Dubai.

Mahan Destinations has launched with packages to some of Iran’s most popular tourism destinations, including Shiraz and Esfahan and is also offering ski trips to resorts north of Tehran during the winter season.

The company has also set up a DMC operation in Dubai to serve Mahan Air’s international corporate and leisure clients and will eventually establish a DMC business in Iran, according to general manager, Filipe Silva.

“With Mahan Air establishing a hub in Tehran and serving traffic from Europe, the Far East and the Middle East, it makes sense to create a [leisure] concept like Emirates did with Emirates Holidays more than six years ago,” he told ATN.

“We are starting with Iran because we believe it has great potential. It’s an ideal short break from the GCC and is suitable for anyone interested in culture and history, particularly for ex-pats [living in the Gulf].

“The only problem is visas for some nationalities (UK, US, Canada and Australia), which can be costly (around AED 750 or US $204), however, we have worked out a process for getting the applications done in Iran.

They give us the reference number and then we take the passport for just one day to get the stamp.”

Silva to date has distributed flyers to the trade and consumers promoting Iran packages, which start from just AED 1445 (US $393) per person for two nights accommodation in a four-star property in Shiraz on a full board basis and including return airfares from Dubai, and airport transfers, but not visa handling fees.

Skiing packages to Dizin and Mount Touchal are also available, with prices starting at AED 2400 ($653) per person.

Silva said although Mahan Destinations relied heavily on travel agents to generate bookings and offered them between 10 and 15% commission, the trade had been slow to book packages to Iran.

“I think it’s because they know very little about the destination, but this will change in time. We are working closely with the agents who already sell Mahan Air and are aware of our company and what we do,” he explained.

Mahan Destinations will launch a brochure in March and also plans to exhibit at ATM in May.

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