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Isfahan Issuing E-Visas for Nationals of 180 Countries

Insert Date : 2018-02-28
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Behnaz Abedi


Looking for a way to transcend, this is a tale of a city that looks above and beyond the norms to find a way to globalize. Isfahan is an overflow of historical and touristic attractions that can please the eyes of any beholder; but it has not yet managed to reach its true potentials; these days, cities with far less potential than Isfahan in the neighboring regions have managed to be top ranking in the regional tourism and even the world. Now, the new head of the ministry of foreign affairs’ bureau in Isfahan has new and promising news. Alireza Salariyan, who recently replaced Mohammad Reza Karshenas, speaks of a comprehensive and practical plan to exploit Isfahan’s capacities. He and his delegation have moved to a new building, and he describes the priorities of the International Center of Isfahan in the context of the new program, and believes that the globalization of Isfahan requires global thinking. The first interview of the new head of ministry of foreign affairs’ bureau in Isfahan is as follows..




The State Department spokesman recently announced that the Isfahan sister city agreements are only on paper, and the capacity is left unused. What is the new management plan of the ministry of foreign affairs’ bureau in Isfahan to do in Isfahan for the dynamics of cooperation among sister cities?
At the meeting we had with the mayor, we offered suggestions about this matter, either in person or in writing. We have asked the municipality to specify a few cities and send delegations to them this year; delegations chaired by the mayor or other city officials. This move will inevitably lead to their delegations coming to Isfahan. At present, we have placed two or three cities to be added to Isfahan’s sister cities list, because we [the ministry of foreign affairs] believe that given the presence of various high-level delegations, including the presidents and prime ministers, coming to Isfahan the number of current sister cities of Isfahan is unacceptably low. In fact, this capacity should have been used to sign more sister city agreements.  



Which new cities are on the agenda?
In near future, delegations from Hungary Poland are going to come to Isfahan and we have planned to sign agreements with two cities in these countries.




What you mentioned is the increase in the number of sisters, but as I said, one of the weak points of Isfahan is the lack of utilization of the capacity of current sister cities. It seems most of Isfahan’s relations with Freiburg or St. Petersburg has been summed up to cultural weeks, but, we have never talked about the other sisters such as Florence or Barcelona, ​​which are among the best in tourism industry. Are we not even going to use our agreements for the development of tourism?
Part of this cooperation goes to the Iranian side and, of course, other part to the foreign side. There is also another argument that the priorities among the sister towns should be identified. In Barcelona, ​​for example, in the current political situation in Catalonia, it may not be a priority for them to pursue the development of bilateral interactions. But, for example, in regards to St. Petersburg, we had a conversation with the new Russian consul head in Isfahan and emphasized the strengthening of cooperation between the two cities.




Naturally, these agreements have been verbal. Can we expect any new developments?
We both agreed to talk to our own sides for preparation of our delegations and for the cultural week. We also put forth a new proposal: Considering that World Cup games are scheduled to take place in Russia and one of our country’s team games is in St. Petersburg, we suggested that at the time of the competition, the authorities of Isfahan province be invited to that play in St. Petersburg, for a joint ceremony of two sister cities (Isfahan and St. Petersburg) or that the game be held by the presence of two city’s officials.




Isfahan’s governor general recently announced that he was seeking to increase the number of consular offices in Isfahan. Can this happen only with the request of the Iranian side, or its more about the other sides requests and expectations?
Usually, countries ask for a consulate in areas other than the capital where their citizens travel a lot and do business. This request is made to the State department by that country, and the ministry of foreign affairs, after reviewing it, accepts it, if it is beneficial to our national interest and it benefits both parties that is. But given the fact that there is a short distance between Isfahan and Tehran (about four to five hours of driving and 40 minutes of flight); those countries that want to create a consular zone may conclude that at distances far from Tehran, for example, in southern Iran, West or East, it’s better to have a consulate. Now, there are several consulates in Khorasan Razavi or Sistan and Baluchistan, because these provinces are far from Tehran and, of course, in the vicinity of several countries. I think our priority is not to increase consulates, but at the same time, in light of the suggestion made by the Governor, we are also trying to persuade other parties through foreign ministry visits and foreign trips to create a consulate in Isfahan. Of course, the reaction of foreign parties is also important, and if they are interested, it can be followed up.



Of course, the governor general’s assertion was that with the increase in the number of consular offices, part of the Tehran overload of visa admissions will be transferred to Isfahan.
Some embassies in different countries have created an office outside their embassy which is fully dedicated to visa issuance. But if we want to expand tourism in Isfahan and create economic development, we do not need this kind of facilities for those who want to go abroad. We are looking for tourism in Isfahan, and currently visa issuance at Isfahan Airport is 24/7. I should announce that for 180 countries you can get a visa at the airport without having already taken any steps. Of course, it is necessary for our travel agencies to be fully aware of this matter and to promote it both internally and externally. We will announce this issue fully on the official opening day of the new building of the ministry of foreign affairs office in Isfahan. This issue is primarily important for boosting tourism. We have also recently issued an electronic visa, in which a passport is placed on the device within 30 seconds and a visa may be issued in less than one minute. Our agencies must be able to advertise the capacities and attractions of Isfahan in internet and virtual spaces. Of course, Isfahan has a global reputation, but we should be able to make Isfahan tours as attractive as we can.



You mentioned that the issuing visa has been active for 24 hours a day at Isfahan Airport, and there is another problem in this regard, the airport itself is one of the main problems of the tourism industry in Isfahan; the low number of foreign flights, the physical space of the airport, and so on.
That’s exactly so. There should at least be one flight to one of the cities that foreigners travel a lot, in our daily internal flight connection every day. Fortunately, we have discussed the golden triangle that the Chamber of Commerce of Tourism Commission has raised with Shiraz and Yazd so that these three cities can cover each other. We have presented our plans and suggestions, but all of these need funding and facilities. Isfahan needs its own dedicated airline. Due to the fact that the new governor general of Isfahan was responsible for tourism in Tehran and is interested in pursuing these issues, we also have this discussion on the agenda. However, the current airport is not worthy of Isfahan. The entrance and the routes leading to the airport are very important, which unfortunately are not eye-catching and tasteful in Isfahan’s case. These routes really need to be fundamentally reformed and must be repaired and redecorated. currently Mashhad airport is really a good example, both in its exterior and its interior design.

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