• The video ironically urges people not to go to Iran. (Vimeo)Source: Vimeo
Does a clip called 'Don't Go to Iran' make you want to do the opposite?
By
Ben Winsor

17 May 2016 - 3:04 PM  UPDATED 17 May 2016 - 6:49 PM

Young French film-maker and blogger Benjamin Martine recently spent two weeks in Iran, and the short film documenting his journey is pretty spectacular.

Titled Don’t Go to Iran, the ironic video highlights Iran’s natural landscapes, cultural heritage, cuisine and welcoming people.

The 25-year-old said he made the film to challenge stereotypes about the country.

“Unfortunately, there are still a lot of Western people who associate the people of Iran with their government,” he wrote. “Sure there is still a lot of progress to be made on human rights, gender equality… But trust me, you will feel more welcome in Iran than in any Western country.”

Iran, which had many sanctions lifted this January as a result of a nuclear deal with Western powers, is hoping for a big boost to its tourism industry.

Iranian Vice President Masoud Soltanifar, the country's tourism chief, told the Associated Press the country was preparing for a “tsunami” of foreign tourists in the wake of the nuclear deal.

Despite well-developed infrastructure and combined Farsi and English sign posts, many significant destinations in the country still experience few foreign visitors.

Soltanifar said President Hassan Rouhani's moderate image and the easing of visa rules would open the door for the return of foreign tourists to Iran.

Some sanctions against Iran remain in place due to ongoing human rights abuses, support for designated terror organisations and the country's ballistic missile program.

But Martine says that didn’t deter him.

“The good thing about all the prejudice against Iran is that less people go there,” he wrote, noting it doesn’t feel touristy - yet.

The blogger visited Tehran, Maranjab, Kashan, Isfahan, Yazd and Shiraz on his trip.

“Beyond the cultural wealth and the amazing landscapes, we will especially remember the human experience. Iranian people overwhelmed us with their hospitality and their generous genuine nature.”