Baku, Azerbaijan, May 26
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani has announced that the number of foreign tourists who visited Iran in last two months indicates a three-time increase compared to the same period of the preceding year.
"Positive momentum has started in this area which will improve the employment rate in the country," Rouhani said, Iran's Fars news agency reported on May 26.
He also said that private sector investments in the tourism sector will lead to even better results.
Among his first pledges after taking office in August last year, Rouhani said he plans to improve the quality of the tourism industry and draw more foreign travelers to Iran.
Iran's tourism industry is booming, and Rouhani has previously said that he hopes to attract 10 million international tourists each year.
Travel and tourism accounted for 6.3 percent of Iran's $482 billion economy in 2012, according to an estimate by the World Economic Forum in a report last year.
Masoud Soltanifar, Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), said on May 20 that Iran's share in world's total $1.25 trillion tourism industry is very little.
It is said that annually 4 million foreigners travel to Iran, but Soltanifar explained that only one million people spend money in Iran and can be considered tourists.
Darvish Amiri, an official with Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, said on Feb. 21 that some four million foreign tourists traveled to Iran in 2013.
He added that the figure was very small compared to a total 1.15 billion tourist traveling around the world in 2013.
The country currently attracts predominantly medical and religious tourists, although this is all expected to change as Iran develops new relationships with foreign nations.
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