Accor the French leisure group is opening two new hotels in Iran, which is one of the first moves by operators internationally into what is expected to be a tourism boom in Iran following the deal made with Iran and six world powers on their controversial nuclear program.
Two of the best known chains of Accor – Novotel and Ibis – are opening next month at the international airport in Tehran as Iran attempts to scramble to improve on infrastructure ahead of what a tour operator said would be an onslaught of tourists from other countries.
The hotels are the most recent sign of rapprochement between the west and Iran following the agreement this past summer, which opened the door for investment from Europe, even though the sanctions are yet to be lifted officially.
The large amount of French companies such as Peugeot and Total are expected as well to travel to the Islamic Republic later in September.
Travel agencies are expecting a large number of tourists to arrive to visit the ancient sites within the country.
International hotel chains like Hyatt, Hilton and Intercontinental were operating before 1979 in Iran but operations stopped when the revolution started that ended the rule of the Shah and ushered in the Islamic Republic under the rule of the Ayatollah Khomeini.
In recent years, the tourism industry in Iran suffered particularly under the rule of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmaddinejad the hardline president who became isolated over the controversial nuclear program.
Tour operators in Europe have said they have had to add extra tours this fall to meet the increased demands for visitors who want to travel to Iran after the British Embassy was reopened in August in the country.
The London Foreign Office has recently lifted its travel advice against most part of the country.
Iran has a number of cultural treasures that are largely unknown across the West, including mosques, landscapes, 19 ruins that are UNESCO listed world heritage sites.