Indeed, they wish to make clear they are not simply “a group of fanatical nationalist whose only aim is to provide a perfect view of Iran.” Moreover, while the activities of the See You in Iran team are often related to their residents it is their strong desire to not limit themselves to the tourism industry, but rather use the hostel as a means to facilitate their wider cultural and educational goals. This is why the events held at Kojeen are aimed to entice a crowd larger than those simply looking for a place to stay.
See You in Iran conducts themselves based on a non-prejudiced morality; they seek to be against of Iranophobia and wish to undermine anti-Irani sentiment by maintaining an unfiltered dialogue with their guests. Consequently, they ask those who have traveled to Iran to share their photos, stories, and special experiences through social media.
According to the feedback of their guests, the popularity of their facebook group and website and the approval from international interviewers, See You in Iran now asserts itself to be the most internationally well-known Iranian cultural tourism group. Nevertheless, See You in Iran does not seek to compete with others in terms of service providing; theirs is a different mandate.
Their target is the independent mostly low budget travelers; those who don’t come in large tours with expensive travel agencies. Often guests find See You in Iran through their Facebook group. Most travellers who choose See You in Iran are young, adventurous and passionate about intercultural communication. See You in Iran’s guests seek something different, interactive events, and to know the people with whom they stay.
Such events take place on an almost nightly basis at Kojeen’s café-hostel. Here a tourist may rent a room or bed and gain a genuine cultural experience.
In a corner of the ground floor café, former guests have left well-wishing notes describing their time spent at See You in Iran. These notes have been arranged into a world map in order to show the diversity of travellers to their hostel.
Tina Alaee and Navid Yousefian, representatives of See You in Iran, say that in addition to their current guests, the majority of whom are from western countries, they aim to broaden their outreach and accommodate more guests from the Middle East. Upon the walls of the café, photos relate the history of cities and villages across Iran and depict the handicrafts of each locale.
See You in Iran’s courtyard is not particularly large but is plentifully decorated with trees and bushes and is spacious enough to walk around and find a quiet corner to oneself. A traditional Kapar shelter made from date trees by Baluchi Iranians has recently been built in their yard; it is designed to remain cool in summer heat. In the center of the yards, one finds a drained pool, a remnant of this 80-year-old mansion’s previous tenants; it has now been remade into a cozy social space. One cannot help but admire the enthusiasm of the See You in Iran team.
See You in Iran’s team explains how their existence is thanks to and dependant upon its members developing the contents of their Facebook page for an international audience of over a hundred thousand individuals. Indeed, it is now the largest English language online platform dedicated to the communication of Iranian culture and promotion of Iranian tourism.
Previously one could only keep in touch with the See You in Iran team via Facebook, however, now one is able to make bookings through the bespoke website www.seeyouiniran.org Nevertheless, there are undoubtedly more to the amenities of See You in Iran than just accommodation. Their address is No. 2, Vahdati-Manesh (3rd) dead end, South Kheradmand St., KarimKhan Ave, Tehran.
At first, one didn’t dare to look at the prices of their café menu for fear of the suspected upscaling to foreign guests, however, when actually looking at the menu one was pleasantly surprised by its affordability. Indeed, Tina made clear that the kitchen was at the disposal of their guests to cook any meal they wish in order to satisfy their own taste.
Passing the café and courtyard one reaches the hostel’s rooms. The old house has an attractive atmosphere and one cannot help but feel intimate in its space. There are 7 available rooms in See You in Iran’s hostel totaling 12 single and 3 double beds. Guests have access to the high-speed wireless internet. There is a shared bathroom on each floor. Hospitality, daily cleaning, and laundry services are all available; as well as airport transportation for those who require it. Indeed, we will see many more in Iran thanks to See You in Iran!
The rest of this article is published in the 4th number of Gilgamesh international edition