Thursday, December 23, 2010

Buying a property in North of Iran, Good Idea or not?

For a long time, coast of Caspian sea (aka Khazar lake), in the north of Iran has been a major destination for capital residents, Tehrani people. Caspian sea or Khazar or Mazandaran lake is the largest lake on the planet by area. beauties of the coast of Caspian in north of Iran is not limited to the sea shore, because of Alborz mountains and forests located in the area, Mazandaran and Gilan province are hosting a very beautiful and various natural sceneries. 
Caspian Sea shore in Iran
in many countries touristic areas are popular places for investors, constructors and holiday makers to build, buy and invest in holiday resorts and tourism facilities. Khazar's sea shore is not an exception. in high season period and during 3-4 days holidays, you can see people rushing from Tehran to Mazandaran and Gilan provinces causing huge traffic jams in Chalous, Haraz, Firouzkouh and Rasht highways. this fact had been shown a strong impact on local people's lives and income.
Villa in Sisangan area, Mazandaran
So Tourism has became a major economy key for this region and side businesses have experienced a significant growth during pas decades. one of these businesses is construction and property. Prices of properties in Khazar area has been grown for more than 1000 times during my lifetime (3 decades). with the property crisis and credit crunch in west, Iranian people who had invested in to overseas properties like Dubai and Europe, again attracted to national investment opportunities since they believed Iran has not any link to int'l economy (which is true) but they ignored the fact national economy doesn't have the potential to grow anymore as well as under recession international economy. So after a while we had a bulb on prices and obviously a crunch after that. and now we are in a 2 year old recession which I believe will last till another fresh air in tourism industry in Iran. some consequences of such recession are listed below:
  • many jobs have been lost
    construction has stopped in large quantities and many are out of job now. including Afghan and Iranian workers and labors, real estate agents, services etc
  • a big portion of capital is frozen on half completed construction sights
  • people who have invested their capital in properties face credit and cash problems
  • banks face problems with those who have borrowed
  • customer behavior has changed. for example now investors prefer to buy apartments rather than Villas, which was somehow unusual in Mazandaran and Gilan provinces so far 
still buying property in North of Iran, coast of Caspian sea is known investment method for many Iranian. and I believe the biggest challenge in future for them will be a competition which soon or late will begin with overseas properties. right now countries like UAE, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Turkey and Spain have attracted many Iranian as investors.
property prices in Mazandaran province vary from 200,000 USD up to millions depending on the location and construction quality, and with the same money you can buy a villa in Cyprus or even cheaper in Turkey. at the other hand property mortgages are not available for more than 10% at unbelievable rate of 12% interest!! and even for more portion mortgage like 60-70% you have to obtain it from private banks in Iran which will charge you up to 30% of the money annually. comparing to 4-6% rates in Europe this is completely crazy. another option buying a property in other countries can offer which Caspian region can't offer is residency. countries who offer residency upon buying a property have this advantage comparing to their national rival.



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Iranian speak Persian not Arabic!

Achaemenid Standard
I have met many people from around the world and as an Iranian nationality, I have some major problems with the lack of knowledge among people (mostly Americans) about my country, Iran. I can't believe sometime how people can be influenced and mislead by the media propaganda and sometimes how they can get fooled by irrelevant and wrong information. one of these wrong issues is some people think we, Iranian or Persian people speak Arabic!! The language of Iranian people is Persian (also called Parsi or Farsi). We ARE NOT ARABS!!! Persia or Iran is a country with 4500 years of civilization and Arab countries were just colonies of Persian Empire till 1400 years back. And a country called United Arab Emirates or Bahrain or Qatar wasn’t exist 50 years ago!! Though I respect Arab race as human and our neighbors, but it’s very sad that some western people think Iranian people speak Arabic which is only due to their lack of knowledge and education.
I know most of people in US and Europe are aware of Iranian history and facts, but still it's funny to have such beliefs in a minority of people. 
Map of the Achaemenid Empire - 550-330 BCE
if you want to learn more about Ancient Persia, you can take a look at Achaemenid Empire in wikipedia.

Cyrus the great was the founder of the Persian Empire under the Achaemenid dynasty. Regarding the most known and trusted encyclopedias including Britanica and Wikipedia, it was under his own rule that the empire embraced all previous civilized states of the ancient Near East, expanded vastly and eventually conquered most of Southwest Asia and much of Central Asia, parts of Europe and Caucasus. From the Mediterranean sea and the Hellespont in the west to the Indus River in the east, to create the largest empire the world had yet seen.
Darius the Great
Just imagine the facet Cyrus the Great respected the customs and religions of the lands he conquered, which is not yet seen in many countries around the world (and I confess including today Iran). It is said that in universal history, the role of the Achaemenid empire founded by Cyrus lies in its very successful model for centralized administration and establishing a government working to the advantage and profit of its subjects. In fact, the administration of the empire through satraps and the vital principle of forming a government at Pasargadae were the work of Cyrus. Aside from his own nation, Persia (modern Iran), Cyrus also left a lasting legacy on Jewish religion (through his Edict of Restoration), human rights, politics, and military strategy, as well as on both Eastern and Western civilizations.
I ain't a Racist in no way and I strongly believe in respecting all the nations and races including Turks, Arabs, Indians etc, but I don't know if you ever have experienced being misjudged and mistaken by your root and race facts. It's very unpleasant and today, because of news published over the world and the government we have (with its specific method of communicating with the rest of the world, which I don't agree or disagree) people around the world misjudge Iranian people. You have to consider people of a country independent and separate from their governors, especially in a country like Iran. Professor Patrick Hunt, an American archeologist and history author says: "If you are looking at the greatest personages in History who have affected the World, 'Cyrus the Great' is one of the few who deserves that epithet, the one who deserves to be called 'the Great'. The empire over which Cyrus ruled was the largest the Ancient World had ever seen and may be to this day the largest empire ever."

Monday, November 01, 2010

Plan your Budget Travel to Iran

Back Pack Budget Traveling tips and ideas for Iran

if you believe it's a good time to travel to Iran, and if you are a Budget traveler,then you may love this blog post!! I'll let you know some tips about how to plan a budget trip to Iran:

  1. Accommodation:
    Hotels are so expensive in Iran, specially if you try to relate the price and the quality of service anyhow (who shouldn't care this relation?!) a 5 star hotel providing a 3 star service(!) costs you 220 USD in Tehran. and a 3 star hotel costs 90 USD per night
    resolution:
    try to find a host using websites like hospitalityclub
    or try to find a furnished apartment for short term.
  2. Transportation:
    taxis and other transportations in Iran are roughly cheap. the cheapest way of traveling inside Iran is almost always Buses, also for some routes you can check up with trains.
    if you want to travel inside Tehran, which is the most expensive city in Iran, as a budget traveler don't get in a Taxi and say your destination. it will work like a Yellow Cab in London (expensive)! instead you can ask other people how you can get there.
    for Bikers and Motorcycle riders things can be different. petrol is cheap in Iran (roughly 40 USD cents per Liter)
  3. meals:
    Meals in some restaurants can cost you 30-100 USD per person! Restaurants like Nayeb, Shandiz, Shamdan, Alborz and many others start from 20-25 per person. even restaurants like Taj Mahal, ّFrench and Japanese restaurants can cost up to 100 bucks!
    instead of trying these restaurants for a simple meal you can cook very cheap and healthy food using rice, meet, beef, chicken and vegetables.
    rough prices:
    rice: 2 USD per Kg - chicken: 3-4 USD per Kg - beef: 8 USD per Kg - vegetables: 1 USD per Kg
    fruits (average): 2-3 USD per Kg
    NOTICE: Iranian restaurants, mostly, are not Vegetarian friendly!
  4. Touristic areas and sights:many of them are free and the rest are cheap enough. beside you don't have any other option to pay less!
  5. Money Exchange:
    this can hurt!! in many cities you will experience problems with exchanging money. not too many in small cities and very limited open hours. also most of banks only deal with foreign currencies only 2 hours a day (11:00-13:00 local time)
    SO CARRY enough Iranian money when you are out of Tehran or large cities. I know for most of westerners it sounds crazy, but you should.
    there's no ATM accepting VISA, MasterCard etc. so you may not use them.
    paying in USD or Euro etc to ordinary people and store keepers can cost you more than what you should usually pay.
I hope you enjoy your trip!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Respect the Nature

Rubbish left by fishers
If you are a back pack traveler or eco-tourist or even if you're just a nature lover, you should have been so concerned about the nature and how people should treat it. unfortunately in my country, Iran, the culture of touring and camping has been considered unimportant! you see nothing about it in media propaganda, public ads and even it's not in agenda for parents to teach their children in many cases. it takes all parts of society to change this culture and make our country a better place in future.
If you have been to places like North of Iran, the Caspian sea coast or to mountains and jungles, you see sad things like left rubbish and ruined nature objects like trees, river side etc. as far as I know it takes 300 years for a glass made bottle to get recycled in nature and a lifetime for a plastic bag!!
Left Garbages in the nature can affect the plants by killing them by suffocating the plants by the rapping of the rubbish around the plants steam. Also rubbish can affect the plants by them not getting enough sunlight, water and air. Also rubbish can kill fish, birds and animals. it's not a joke! Fish and sea animals die everyday because of dirt produced by our rubbish in the water.

In my post about Taleghan years back, some visitors has commented which I just preferred to publish them here:

Pontia has said:
I was so happy to see this. My dad is actually from Koolaj. Taleghan is really beautiful,especially now that they have opened up the dam. I don't know how recently you were there, but since Tehrani's have discovered Taleghan, weekends here are full of campers along the water. And when they leave, they also leave a lot of trash behind. Very sad. Taleghan is becoming so crowded. 

Anonymous said:
I too, like Pontia in the comment above, have family from Koolaj.
Having just visited Taleghan in the last month, I was saddened to see all the rubbish tourists leave behind.

People really need to learn to clean up after themselves and take their rubbish home with them. All the plastic they leave behind will not magically disintegrate or vanish.

It is very unfortunate that many Iranian people still do not understand the concept of not littering!

I urge anyone visiting Taleghan to treat the place with respect and clean up their rubbish behind them. Also camping on people's private land is just not on!

So let me just reiterate:
(a) Take your rubbish with you...leave the place just as you found it!
(b) Ask permission of the land owner before you camp on their land!

Thank you. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Shamxal or Shamkhal, the paradise of Khorasan

You have heard a lot about Darakeh and Darband (two famous places in north of Tehran which Tehrani people used to go for dining, mountain climbing and smoking hookah -Ghalioon, Shisha or Hubble bubble-). well, they are connected to the capital Tehran and so we are fed up with hearing their name too much. they ARE beautiful indeed, but comparing to Shamkhal (or Shamxal) in Khorasan province, they can't even compete.
This is Shamkhal, the paradise in Iran, in Khorasan. as you step in, you gotta go to the end. you can't stand in the middle: go or come back, no alternative!! all you see are magnificent valleys, sky scraping trees, crystal clear river flow and fantastic water falls. There are spas, hot water tubs and caves. it's really hallucinogenic but it's for real!
The Valley starts from Tandoreh national park, and after 12 Km you will reach two cold water spas called Shamxal and further you reach a new valley called Dor Badam. from this point the valley gets a little bit wider and you see the Doroungar river on your side. It flows to Mohammad Taghi Beig village and city of Dargaz. 
Till now, you should have walked for 7 hours and you may be tired, but I bet you are more fascinated than exhausted! the Valley ends here and... WOW! you see a huge flat field in front of you, beneath your feet. the river you were crossing minutes ago, now feeds many gardens and farms. The nature is so generous to this place and this is the reason of all these beauties.
some information about Shamxal valley:
Geographical location: 65 Km north of Ghouchan city, Razavi Khorasan province. between Ghouchan and Dargaz cities.
access: by car from Ghouchan or by cab from Felestin (Palestine) square in Ghouchan. 
Valley's length: from Shamkhal village to Doroungar village it's roughly 18 km.
Valley's height: up to 200 meters

suggestions:
1- plan your trip somehow to be able to accommodate the first night in Shamxal's mosque or in the beginning of the first spa in tent, and follow the rest tomorrow morning. there are 3 suites for rent in this area as well.
2- wear proper shoes ad clothes. the nights are cold and freezing some seasons. you may need sun glasses or caps. 
3- during the road you will get wet. so have spare cloth for sleeping.
4- Please treat the nature gently :)

this article is translated from it's origin, written by my friend, Mehdi Roudaki. Mehdi is originally a Kurmanj (Kurmanc) and speaks Kurmanji (Kurmanci) Kurdish as his mother tongue. He is familiar with culture of resdent people over there and nature of Kurmanj, Dargaz and Shamxal. feel free to write him if you plan to visit this undisputed place. thanks to him for these info and pictures, please visit his blog for more. for Kurdish language click the link.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Iran's unique attraction: The underground Music Bands

Among all the attraction you have heard about in Iran, this virgin island(!) has a significant issue to discover by and be delivered to tourists: The underground Music bands.
These bands are mostly illegal, or better to say they are on the dark side of law! but no difference to make them outlaw! among them you can find Rock and Rap bands.
actually Iranian singers are categorized as:
  • legal and local singers and bands who have permit from the government to publish and distribute their artworks inside Iran
  • illegal bands who can't get permission for their works, known as underground music which I think have a larger body than the legal sector!
  • Iranian singers and Bands in US, known as Los Angelesi Music (From L.A.)
  • Iranian singers and Bands in Europe or other countries

I strongly believe the second sector has got more talent and innovation in their music than the others, especially the third one which mostly reminds you of dinosaurs!

I'm not a music expert, but I love Rock music personally and in Iran there are many Rock bands which all of them are categorized in the underground part. the reason is simply "our government denies many diversifications in interests and beliefs to be exist!" they just think Rock, Rap, Metal etc are not existed, just like the homos3xuality! (refer to Mr.Ahmadinejad's speech in NY claimed "No gays in Iran" (watch www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_3RUwAJ_MI)



The Ways, is a rock band in Iran, probably located in Tehran, founded by Kaveh Afagh and Alireza Pour-reza.as they say on their official website (www.thewaysband.com) "The Ways supposes that has created or reached a special kind of pop-rock music. The Ways` members named their style, Oriental Rock, which is based on the creative artistic methods of the Old Persian artists."
Among their outstanding songs, I love "bonbast" and "Tehran"




Tehran Song:
talks about unemployed and under wage people (mostly men) who their inability to obtain minimum life needs causes prostitution of their wives and girls. a very strong lyric by Kaveh Afagh, implemented smoothly on the music theme. the vocal is somehow different of what ever I've heard from Iranian rock bands.

Bonbast Song:
life, war and the truth of universe! if these are things you can't combine them together in your life, this is your right music. "lieutenant, you're stuck and condemned, and your death is just a message from each War" it says in a part and also: "universe, both your hands are null, and all the alleys are dead-end"

Support this band, linking and downloading theirs songs: www.thewaysband.com

Monday, July 05, 2010

How to expand your Tourism Business in Iran? Part 3/3

Now in the last part of this article, I'd like to get back to our main discussion:
How The Emirates Group as company active in Tourism business in UAE can start or expand its operation in Iran?

Challenges:
Talking about challenges in Tourism industry, we should keep in mind certain realistic truths about tourism such as: it consumes resources, creates waste and requires certain kinds of infrastructure; it creates conditions for possible over-consumption of resources; it is dominated by private investment with priority on maximizing profits; its difficulties to control nature resources; and it may be seen as simply entertainment services consumed by tourists. The challenge of sustainable tourism development, therefore, is to balance the principles with these truths, and this can be done only through integrated, cooperative approaches involving all major players and decision makers in government and related economic activities in the area. Let’s move to 5 named challenges above:

Advantaging out of lack of infrastructure!
Emirates airlines, as a key member to the group, can take some advantages out of the situation in Iran right now. The Iranian airlines have limited number of available flights to international airports. Transit and connecting flights from Iranian major cities to all destinations Emirates Airlines has, can play a major role in fulfilling the airline’s capacity. Bear in mind Iran has a population of 70 Million (12 times more than UAE) which half of this population is living in just 5 major cities and nearby.

Over-consumption of resources
For Emirate Group, using local expert recruitment firms and consulting companies to balance its resources for advertising, human resources etc is a must.
For the country itself, the tourism industry needs certain expert trainings and academic courses in university. this will cause more income for the country since the companies won’t need to import services and human resources.

Private Investments
Governments should indicate clear commitments about private sector involve-ment in tourism infrastructure development, and this should form part of integrated plans or a master plan like what we call “20 year perspective program” in Iran. In order to attract private sector participation, governments should address such issues as creating a conductive business environment, providing investment incentives, developing an adequate legislative framework and strengthening governmental capacity to negotiate.
Banks in Iran and other development financing institutions should extend full assistance to tourism infrastructure development, to give the private sector a confidence in investing.
As an obvious result, the Emirates Group will feel confident to invest in Iran’s tourism market and will be able to benefit out of well regulated routine in Iran, clearly and transparently know:

•    how to import the capital
•    how to extract the profit
•    how to secure the capital itself


Effective environmental management
There is a complex relationship between tourism and the environment, such that tourism has inevitable and important environmental impacts, including: resource use, consumption, waste, pollution and effects from tourism-related transport.
For the Emirates Group this challenge should be handled in SCR (Social Corporate Responsibility) department. So we won’t enter this issue.
For the industry itself, there’s a need for a nation level action, including cultural issues etc.  Government should give more attention to planning, coordination and monitoring of tourism development and environmental management.


Opportunities:

Bilateral travel packages
Tourism in Dubai is an important part of the Dubai government's strategy to maintain the flow of foreign cash into the emirate. But what Dubai offers to tourists? Does Dubai satisfy a tourist like when he/she steps in to European cities? Does Dubai contain quarter of what we counted as Iran’s attractions?
Nasirolmolk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Dubai's tempt for tourists is mainly based on shopping. There are other things, made artificially (in my point of view, but confirmed by many as I have asked through years and years from different countries) to attract and also make benefit, like Ski resort, desert camps and safari, aqua parks, Yacht marinas etc. Again Comparing to Iran, the smallest Ski resorts in Iran (actually there are more than 10) is 10 times bigger than the artificially made Ski resort in Mall of the Emirates.

An untouched market in neighborhood
Emirates Group is enjoying an untouched and virgin market in the neighborhood in many aspects. Imagine an advert, saying you can “Shop in Dubai, Ski in Dizin and Scuba Diving in Qeshm island!” it would be a collection of attractions unbelievably gathered in one package.
And who is the winner? No doubts, the customer, and then the infrastructure provider, which a major part is on Emirates Group stake.

Cheap currency
No one neglects the impact of weak Iranian currency versus strong Dollar and Euro. Both the country and the Emirates Group can take advantage of this opportunity.

* * * * *

Please let me have your comments and feed back. I'd be glad to be in touch with businesses who seriously are looking forward to start or expand their activities in Iran. through the connection I've got and experience in tourism industry, I got no doubt I can be helpful! feel free to contact me: honarparvar at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

How to expand your tourism business in Iran - Part 2/3

Part two
Now suppose the Emirates Group wants to expand its operations in Iran

traditional restaurant in Tehran
Traditional Restaurant in Tehran
I take this sample, with a focus on Tourism industry to cover the question number one and two in the assignment. Therefore, we consider the Emirates Group possible policies to expand its activities in Iran, while we are considering the tourism industry in Iran, which can play a key role in public wealth, growing GDP and build a long term and recession proof business field.
The importance of tourism in Iran appears obvious when you look at Iran’s potentials and attractions to travelers, while there has been a minimum and next to nothing attention to this field.
According to World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), Iran's travel and tourism demand is set to grow by 6.6 percent for the next ten-year period topping the list of Middle East countries. This can be caused by different points which we will discuss now, and then we will back to our main question “How The Emirates Group can expand business in Tourism field?”

Tourism Industry in Iran
Iran’s potential in tourism industry is non-negotiable and obvious. The diversification of climate, nature sceneries and historical attractions are just samples that make Iran incomparable to many other countries in the world.
Iran has jungles, mounts, sea and desert simultaneously in all 4 seasons, which in the top ten countries regarding their income of tourism only United States of America (seed 2) and China (seed 4) have the same opportunity, while US is making 80 Billion USD, which is 20% more than whole Iran’s government’s budget in the current year.
The landscape of Iran is diverse and beautiful, providing a range of activities from hiking and skiing in the Alborz Mountains, to beach holidays by the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea.
Visitors
Iran can serve a variety of travelers, regarding the attractions explained:
1.    Nature and Eco Tourists
2.    Sport tourists: you can Ski in Iran 8 months a year or ride a buggy in the deserts, kiting, mountain climbing, diving etc almost 12 months
3.    Medical tourism
Iran is well-known and famous for its surgeons and doctors. CNN reported “Iran: Nose Job Capital of World” in 2006, because of number of beauty surgeries done in the country during past years.
4.     Historical tourism
Iran has 4000 years of civilization, which has left lots of historical monuments and attractions.
5.    Business travelers
6.    Cultural Tourists


Tourism problems and challenges in Iran
Tourism declined dramatically during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and never revived properly afterward. Iranian governors have paid most of their attention to local tourism rather than foreigners. Despite the importance of local tourism which will cause distribution of wealth among Iranian, we have to keep in mind foreign tourism imports money and wealth which is excessively more important to the country’s economy.
waterfall in Lorestan
Waterfall in Lorestan
The main challenge Iran’s tourism industry faces, is lack of proper infrastructures for travelers and tourism firms. Other issues are of lower priority in my belief: financing problems, sanctions and embargos, lack of promotion and advertising campaigns, cultural differences and social codes etc.
So the companies which want to establish a tourism business in Iran, or expanding their operations in this field should be prepared for such challenges. Just to give the case an example, in Iran there’s no integrated payment system connected to international banking system. There is a local network between banks called Shetab, which can’t be accessed from Visa, MasterCard etc. and cannot be connected to an Int’l merchant account as well. In Iran there is no online hotel reservation system.
Airlines, Airports and roads are another major problem in Tourism infrastructure. Poor quality of all above means of travelling is clear and undisputed.  
Extending infrastructure problems to tourism sites: Iran lacks in public services for tourists. There are no hotels in many small cities despite the potential they have for a long period of visits. There are problems in basic issues like public bathrooms, restaurants, cafes etc.
Lack of knowledge in touring and tour guiding is another issue, I consider it structural problem.



in the 3rd part I will discuss the main challenges and opportunities Emirates Group will face in Iran.
Please kindly let me have your comments and feed backs.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to expand your Tourism business in Iran? Part 1

The below article is a university assignment done for MBA course "Regional and Global Business Strategy" by me (Emad Honarparvar). I have discussed the Emirate Group corp as my case study, supposing this company is up to expand its business operations and activities in Iran.

The Assignment is in 9 pages to I split it up in 3 parts:
Part one an introduction on the Emirates Group which tries to find out the group potentials and character to proceed with a proposal to the firm.

the second part focuses on the proposal to the Emirates Group and the third part is talking about Iran's tourism industry and challenges Emirates Group will and have to face in Iran.

Part One: Introduction of Emirates Group

The Emirates Group is a public international travel and tourism multinational holding company, headquartered in Dubai. The Emirates Group comprises Dnata, an aviation services company providing ground handling services at 17 airports and Emirates Airline, the largest airline in the Middle East, with flies to over 100 destinations, operating a fleet of over 130 wide-bodied aircraft. The airline has 170 aircraft on order worth US$ 58 billion.
The Emirates Group has a turnover of approximately US$12 billion and employs over 48,000 employees across all its 50 business units and associated firms, making it one of the biggest employers in the Middle East according to the company’s website. The company, likely to many other giant businesses and power leads in Dubai, is wholly-owned by the Government of Dubai directly under the Investment Corporation of Dubai.
The Emirates Group has sub-divisions and subsidiaries to help its growth sustainable and let the company to play as a key member in the region’s Travel, Transportation and Tourism industry. These divisions include:
Emirates Airlines: A major Airline in Middle East known as national airline of UAE, with roughly 2000 flights per week (stat 2009, average). The airline has started its activity from the beginning years of Emirates Group’s establishment with only two medium size airplanes, one Boeing 737 and one Airbus 300. Nowadays they have 131 aircrafts including 80 Boeing 777 which makes it the second largest airline regarding capacity for passengers.
In the financial year 2008-09 passenger numbers reached 22.7 million, representing an increase of 7.1% over last year. The airline's profits however were down 72% for the 2008/09 fiscal year. Its profit of 1.49bn dirham ($406m; £255m) for the year to March 31 compared with a 5.3bn dirham profit for the previous year.
Emirates Sky Cargo: Emirates SkyCargo is a cargo carrier operating from Dubai International Airport. The SkyCargo division operates nine aircraft; Airbus A310 and Boeing 747 freighters, with a further 10 freighter aircraft on order; two Airbus A380 and eight Boeing 777 aircraft. Emirates SkyCargo also use the cargo capacity of the passenger fleet. In the 2008 financial year, Emirates SkyCargo carried 1,408,300 tons, an improvement of 9.8% compared to the previous year (stats from the company’s official website)
Dnata: Dnata is an aviation services company, comprising Dnata Airport Operations, the largest ground and passenger handling company at Dubai International Airport, Dnata Cargo, responsible for dealing with much of the 1.3 million tons of cargo passing through Dubai International Airport, and Dnata Agencies, a Dubai based travel agency, acting on behalf of a number of major carries, including Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, Airblue, British Airways, Swissair and United Airlines.
Changi Airport services: Changi International Airport Services (CIAS) offers a comprehensive range of ground handling services to more than 30 scheduled airlines in Singapore.
Emirates Catering and Emirates Engineering
Mercator: Mercator is a global provider of business technology solutions, delivering business transformation, process improvement and return on investment to more than 150 customers in five continents.
The IT division of Emirates Group launched in 1985 to serve the business technology requirements of Emirates and Dnata, but is now a fully-fledged worldwide provider of airline and airport solutions. The IT division employs more than 2,000 staff in Dubai, with additional resources in India.

Tourism Department: including Emirates Holidays, Emirates Tours, EMQuest, and Emirates Hotels and resorts. The last division established in late 2007, to build and serve high profile hotels and holiday resorts.

Key to Success
 
In my point of view, the main reason of rapid growth in the Emirates Group lies in the UAE approach for development: Building high quality and upon future necessities infrastructure. And we can never neglect the fact; The Emirates Group has been a key issue in this approach itself. So the key to success in this group is they have been a part of plan to new face of Dubai in the world, providing other businesses such as Trade, Tourism, Flight transit etc, with a reliable and sustainable transportation infrastructure.









in the next part I suppose the Emirates Group wants to expand its operations in Iran and will discuss such decision how can be put to work and be successful. please follow up and feel free to comment.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Iranian fruits and gardens

Iran has a vast majority of food and fruit products. because of the variety of climates from hot and sandy deserts to crowded jungles and 100% humid places, this wide divergence has occurred.
most of Iranian farms and gardens are producing organic fruits. comparing to Genetically Modified fruits I've seen in Europe, Iranian fruits are more juicy and tasty.

in the picture: a native Orange and Citrus fruit whole seller in Ramsar city
Iran produces Orange, lemon and other citrus fruits in north of Iran, mostly in Mazandaran, also Kiwi, Tea leaves, rice and Banana over there. Apple, Pear and Peach in Damavand, Taleghan etc. Pistachio and Pomegranate in Yazd and Saveh, Watermelon and melon in Mashhad etc. Dates are produced in southern Iranian cities like Ahwaz and Abadan.
in North west or Iran, especially Tabriz city Iran produces dried fruits, mostly exported to Turkey, Persian Gulf coast countries and Europe.

Kiwi and Orange
Iran imports some fruits as well, like fruits from South East Asia which we don't have in Iran etc. but the mostly confusing thing is we import Apple, Orange and rice as well! from Turkey, China, Egypt and Pakistan. It has a big negative effect on local market and causes losses for native traders and producers.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tourism challenges in Iran

Tourism declined dramatically during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and never revived properly afterward. Iranian governors have paid most of their attention to local tourism rather than foreigners. Despite the importance of local tourism which will cause distribution of wealth among Iranian, we have to keep in mind foreign tourism imports money and wealth which is excessively more important to the country’s economy.
The main challenge Iran’s tourism industry faces, is lack of proper infrastructures for travelers and tourism firms. Other issues are of lower priority in my belief: financing problems, sanctions and embargoes, lack of promotion and advertising campaigns, cultural differences and social codes etc.
So the companies which want to establish a tourism business in Iran, or expanding their operations in this field should be prepared for such challenges. Just to give the case an example, in Iran there’s no integrated payment system connected to international banking system. There is a local network between banks called Shetab, which can’t be accessed from Visa, MasterCard etc. and cannot be connected to an Int’l merchant account as well. In Iran there is no online hotel reservation system working nationwide.
Airlines, Airports and roads are another major problem in Tourism infrastructure. Poor quality of all above means of traveling is clear and undisputed.
Extending infrastructure problems to tourism sites: Iran lacks in public services for tourists. There are no hotels in many small cities despite the potential they have for a long period of visits. There are problems in basic issues like public bathrooms, restaurants, cafe etc.
Lack of knowledge in touring and tour guiding is another issue, I consider it structural problem.

I have done a case study research on how an international tourism company can expand its operations in Iran and win the chance to make massive money while Iranian based companies and firms are failing to do so. my case is Emirates Group. please get back here for this research in two weeks (May 2010). I appreciate your comments and advices in such topic in advance.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ramsar Telecbin (Cable Car) resort

Ramsar, is called the planet's paradise in Iran. the city has a strange story from the foundation to now, first it was called Sakhtsar. people of Ramsar say once Reza Shah Pahlavi was crossing the city to Astara he ordered to construct and rebuild the city. on the way back to Tehran he visited the city again and called the city Ramsar instead of Sakhtsar (the two words are antonyms in local language, Gilaki)
Whether this story is true or not, Ramsar remains one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen. the beauty of the mountains and jungles is comparable with Alps mountains and the Caspian lake adds more attraction to it. though the lake is so dirty and polluted these years, regretfully...

Mountain and jungle in fog - Ramsar Cable car site

anyway, Ramsar is the western most city in Mazandaran province. It borders the Caspian Sea to the north, Chaboksar city from Gilan province to the west, Alborz mountains and Qazvin Province to the south, and Tonekabon to the east. Tonekabon is also known as Shahsavar, which has an unbelievable series of beauty like 2000 and 3000 roads, Ghal'e Gardan road etc. I will write about it in another post with pictures. where I made a tremendous time with new kind and nice friends :)
Casino street in Ramsar city

back to Ramsar, where is known as the vacation site of Mohammad Reza Shah (Late Pahlavi Shah of Iran) with a palace over the jungle built for him, and a famous Casino which is used as a Hotel (Hotel Ramsar) now. there's a famous road from the hotel to the beach called Casino street as well.
Ramsar Hotel (the old hotel on the left, and the new on the right)

Ramsar Telecabin (Cable car) is built between Ramsar and Chaboksar (5 kilometer from each) and exactly on the border of Gilan and Mazandaran provinces. the cable car station goes up from the sea coast to the highest levels of the nearby mountain in the Alborz, crossing over the main road and the jungle. in the complex there are facilities like native and international restaurant, fastfood, coffee shop, a shopping center, Go Kart field and most important, a marina under construction, which shapes like two fish toward each other.

there are other under construction facilities like a paint ball field, concert hall, exhibition venue, a 5 star hotel down side and a 4 star hotel apartment above the jungle.

Ramsar Plaza restaurant and shopping center

I will post more information and pictures from this beautiful city soon :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Damavand - Absard

many Tehran citizens travel, camp or go for a short piknik to Damavand region, north east of Tehran. better to say we scape Tehran, with its crazy traffic jam and insane driving style to these suburbs and nearby cities.
Among the most known destinations in Damavand region are Mosha and Absard. Mosha is in Haraz road to Chalous and north of Damavand city, while Absard is in Firouzkouh road to Amol roughly south of Damavand city (few kilometers passing Gilavand city)


Generally, Damavand, the city itself is a city in Tehran Province in Iran. Damavand is an ancient and historic city mostly known for its closeness to tallest Mount in Iran, Mount Damavand, which is reminded several times in Iranian poetry like Ferdowsi's Shahnameh or Malekol Shoara Bahar poems.
above images can't picture the beauty of the city and region in any way. the environment is pretty calm and the nature is pure. there's a river near this area, which I don't know the name! you may find more information on Damavand here.