WEST VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Iran is rich in culture, as
Persian history dates back thousands of years, but Iran is not an
easy country for U.S. travelers to visit independently.
Silk Road Tours, based here, is a company with Iranian roots
that offers U.S. visitors a means to travel in Iran with an
insider's view of the country.
Owned and directed by Iranian native Hossein Lotfi, Silk Road
Tours offers custom tours or escorted group tours with a strong
cultural and historical component.
"[Iran] has everything for American tourists," said Lotfi, who
pointed out that a 20-year ban on U.S. visitors was lifted in
Silk Road Tours' office in western Canada also serves as a
branch of the tourist office of the Iranian government, which makes
legal and bureaucratic tasks such as getting visas much easier than
they otherwise would be. "I'm the only office of Iran tourism in
North America," said Lotfi.
The company also has a local office in Tehran to support clients
while in Iran.
According to Lotfi, Silk Road's prices are 30% lower than any
other company because of his connections in the country.
For first-time visits, Silk Road combines Iran with other
countries in central Asia, Africa or the Middle East.
Guaranteed departures are operated to Iran, Turkey, Morocco,
Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates on
the first Saturday of each month.
Most of the company's business consists of customized trips for
small groups rangin in size from one to seven passengers.
For independent travelers, the company can provide visa
processing, booking of accommodations, English-speaking tour
guides, land and air transportation and a private car and
The escorted tours offered by the company range from the
seven-night Nights of Iran tour, priced at $1,385 per person,
double, land only, to the 20-night Grand Caspian Sea cultural tour,
with a land price of $3,795 per person, double.
The Nights of Iran tour begins and ends in the capital city of
Tehran. It also visits the cities of Shiraz and Esfahan.
The Grand Caspian Sea tour includes Tehran, Shiraz and Esfahan,
as well as Rasht, Ramsar, Mashhad, Kerman and Yazd.
To book, call (888) 881-SILK (7455). Silk Roads' office phone is
(604) 925-3831; its e-mail address is [email protected].