Online news In a report, he wrote about the limitations of the Internet and the impossibility of free access to the international Internet, and specifically addressed the problems of this issue for pilgrims and tourists who came to Iran from other countries:
Filtering has disrupted people’s lives in every way, from the educational problems it has caused for students due to lack of access to educational resources to layoffs in startups and financial loss to small businesses.
What is the value of time in the world of officials? Because we are losing time that cannot be compensated anymore, the Iranian youth, whose concern should be education and learning, is now looking for a VPN that connects to the minimum of education, that is, only access to receiving sample questions or exam omissions; The story of filtering is long. Now, in addition to people, pilgrims and tourists have also faced this problem.
Some time ago, a photo of Imam Reza Street in Mashhad was published on social networks, the interesting point of which is the stores that sell VPN to pilgrims.
Foreign guests need communication through virtual space, but unfortunately due to the new conditions of Iran and lack of information when they enter Iran, they face problems and protest. This has become a problem for them because there has not been extensive filtering in the past.
Concern of tourists to communicate with their families
One of the most important components in traveling is the safety of the tourist and the connection with his family and friends. In addition to this, access to information from one’s own country or the world is defined as the simplest need of a tourist.
At least every tourist who comes to Iran is eager to send his photos of historical and pilgrimage sites to his family and talk with them. But every time he opens the messaging app, it doesn’t work, he can’t even make a simple video call with his family. Sometimes these tourists work remotely while traveling, but this instability of the Internet becomes a problem for them.
Foreign tourists and pilgrims had a similar bitter experience in November 2018; The internet was completely cut off for three days, which dealt a heavy blow to the tourism industry. They were wandering in the cities of Iran and had no connection with their families, this issue caused many problems for airline agencies and tourism organizations in the accommodation sector, these days they have faced a new problem in the form of filtering.
Farshid Sediqi, an activist in the field of tourism and hotel management, said in an interview with Khabar Online: “In recent months, we have encountered the problem of travelers who want to call via the Internet but cannot, and the only help we can provide is international service in the rooms so that they can communicate with the country in question and make a phone call, or if the guest wishes, we will introduce social networks that are not filtered. If they want to connect to the VPN, they have to go outside the hotel and buy a VPN, which is very common these days. Almost 90% of foreign guests face a communication crisis in the first day or two of their stay. One of the pillars of tourism for foreign guests is security. For these tourists, on the first and second day of their stay, this incident deprives them of their security and causes worry and restlessness because they are not in touch with their families.
Mahmoud Madershahian, head of Khorasan Razavi hoteliers’ society, told Khabar Online about this issue: “One of the problems for pilgrims who come to the holy Mashhad is the lack of access to the international Internet. There is really a problem in this matter and we could not solve their concerns because the management The internet is not in our hands. We announced to the organizations to be persistent and do something to solve this problem. They cannot contact their families, but we have provided facilities for them and we try to establish telephone contact with their families through hotels. This problem must be fundamentally solved.”
Imam Reza Street from souvenir photos to VPN sales
Imam Reza Street, which used to be a meeting place for souvenir photos with the Holy Shrine and has shops for buying souvenirs, now the type of souvenirs has changed and VPN sales leaflets have been put on the doors of the shops. Seddiqi added about the familiarity of some passengers with VPN: “Since the end of summer, we have been dealing with the nationwide problem of the Internet. Foreign guests who come unfortunately only connect to the national internet and lose the international network, and their only solution is to use a filter breaker. In the countries of the Persian Gulf such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iraq, due to the fact that some social networks, for example Tik Tok, are filters, as a result, they are familiar with a phenomenon called filter breakers, and sometimes they have the filter breakers that we use on their mobile phones. . But due to the severe filtering that is now available in the country, we have seen that VPNs are not responsive today.
Regarding the validity of VPN sales in Mashhad and especially on Imam Reza Street, this tourism activist says: “Yes, this has happened. For example, along Imam Reza Street, most of the shops that have mobile services and even nut and dried fruit shops and in general stores that have a lot of traffic are selling filter breakers, and guests and tourists visit them and install filter breakers.”
Selling VPN in dollars or Rials?
Next to the published photo of VPN shops in Mashhad, this issue comes to mind: are the sales in dollars and dinars or rials? In this regard, Sediqi states: “Buying and selling is not for dollars and dinars, it is sold at the same or slightly higher price that the VPN service provider offers. The reason is that many Iraqi tourists who are in Mashhad are frequent travelers and They are familiar with the price limits and rules, even many of them, including businessmen, international students and those looking for residency, have bank cards. In the field of VPN, I don’t think anyone can sell to tourists at exorbitant prices, but definitely if there is a booth to organize under the supervision of the technology and media department of the municipality to offer to tourists, it would be much better and more stylish. But it has not happened that the prices are astronomical and the tourists are unhappy.”
Necessary hotel arrangements to solve the problem of pilgrims
Madrashahian states: “This problem is caused by filtering damages. We brought this concern to the authorities. We hope that this case will be resolved in the near future with the follow-ups we are doing. The association of hoteliers and the accommodation sector is under the supervision of the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Heritage, which we follow up through the ministry and the representative of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture in Razavi Khorasan. They should provide a special program in hotels to connect pilgrims.”
Sediqi emphasized: “As a trustee and one of the main pillars in hosting tourists, as we are subject to the laws of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, we cannot provide such services, but guests can purchase them themselves.” We are not the provider of VPN, and the legislator has not given us any responsibility. The guest whose connection with the world is cut off is the responsibility of the relevant organizations to inform about the conditions of the society, for example, the civil aviation organization and the country’s airport management should form a mechanism for international guests or Iraqis who come by land at the entrance of the airport, where notification is necessary. that these restrictions exist.