Sep 21, 2019, 12:37 PM
Journalist ID: 2053
News Code: 83483843
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Tourism to bring people of Iran, Pakistan closer

Islamabad, Sept 21, IRNA -- Each year thousands of Pakistanis visit Iran for religious and cultural purposes showing the people of two friendly countries can be brought further close to each other through promotion of bilateral tourism.

This was noted during a meeting of Pakistani tour operators and travel agents at Iranian embassy in Islamabad on Saturday to discuss promotion of religious and health tourism.

Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Iran to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoost, the deputy head of mission, officials of Iran Embassy visa section and some senior Pakistani journalists were also present in the meeting.

The meeting was held in candid and cordial manner where Pakistani tour operators and embassy staff had an open discussion to provide better facilities to Pakistani pilgrims.

Ambassador Mehdi Honardoost while briefing the audience about the steps taken by the embassy of Iran to facilitate more and more Pakistani pilgrims said that last year we issued 3, 50,000 visas to Pakistani pilgrims.

He added that Iran is only charging a visa fee of 15 Euros to facilitate Pakistani brothers and sisters whereas other countries are charging hefty visa fees. 

“We are trying to issue more and more visas as we are ready to facilitate our brothers and sisters in Pakistan,” said the envoy. He said that Iran embassy has already ended the requirement of No-Objection-Certificate (NOC) for vaccination as it was baseless.

He added that the embassy is issuing visas to Pakistani pilgrims in such a large number which is not acceptable to the authorities in Tehran because of security matters.  He noted that Iran and Pakistan are located on the transit line of human trafficking.

Mehdi Honardoost revealed that soon visa section of Iran embassy would start providing 24 hours services to the Pakistani nationals.

He said that Iran has an immense potential for health tourism and Pakistanis nationals can avail this opportunity in much cheaper rates as compared to other countries in the world. He added that citizens from many Persian Gulf countries travel to Iran for health purposes.

The diplomat suggested Pakistani tour operators to keep in touch with the embassy as ‘we welcome our Pakistani brothers and sisters not only because Pakistan is our neighbor but we have common culture, religion and history.’

“Pakistan is in our hearts and we are doing our best to promote ties with Pakistan, we look at you as our Muslim brothers, it is our mandate to give you best facilities,” he observed.

He said that all Pakistani tour operators must visit Iran to experience the hospitality of the great Iranian nation.

“I look for better cooperation with you, this embassy belongs to you and our doors are open for you,” he added.

Head of Iran Embassy visa section on the occasion said that embassy is trying to issue visas to Pakistani pilgrims as much as possible but we have to follow some rules and regulations.

The official went on to say that Iran embassy in Islamabad with its four consulates in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta are providing very fast visa facilities to Pakistani citizens.

He said that the embassy is in close touch with a committee formed by Pakistani government on pilgrims.

“We are trying our best to provide best facilities to Pakistani pilgrims,” he noted.

He clarified that there is no difference in the visas process at the embassy and the consulates.

The diplomat added that there are two drop boxes at the embassy where the Pakistani pilgrims and tour operators can send their recommendations about the visa process.

On the occasion pictures of Iran’s major tourist attractions were displayed while short documentaries about the potential of Iran in tourism sector were also shown to the audience.

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