Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 3
By Temkin Jafarov - Trend:
Of course, Iran has many interesting tourist attractions. In various regions of the country, one can see the beautiful landscapes, the masterpieces of Islam, magnificent historical monuments and taste delicious Iranian food. Moreover, the historical caravanserais situated on the road through which Italian traveler Marco Polo traveled, the beautiful mosques, Takht-e Jamshid complex discovered in Persepolis city and magnificent palaces are also attractions of Iran.
Although Iran has rich history, religion and nature, the country has not yet succeeded in the world tourism market due to a lack of attention to this area. There are as well many economic and social problems associated with the development of tourism in the country that have yet to be resolved.
Iran's tourism problems
Iran must solve some problems to develop tourism in the country. One of the factors, preventing the development of tourism, is an insufficient number of hotels, guest houses and restaurants that meet international standards.
Currently, Iran has 1,100 hotels; only 130 of them have four- and five-stars. By 2025, the number of hotels in Iran will be increased threefold.
Experts believe that by 2025, the number of tourists visiting Iran will grow from the current 5 million to 20 million.
A development program in this sector was adopted two years ago. Iran started performing certain work in this area, however it is conducted at a slow pace, and sometimes the construction of new hotels is delayed for unknown reasons.
One more factor that hinders the development of tourism is the absence of correct and complete tourism programs for local and foreign tourists. Other countries hold trainings for tour organizers on the visit programming, offers, accommodation, meeting and seeing-off tourists, and other issues, while Iran doesn't conduct such necessary training.
The country has undoubtedly taken positive steps in this area, but all this is not enough.
Although Iranians are hospitable people; they greet tourists with a smile on their face, and invite them to their homes, Iranian citizens are not informed about the importance of the tourism industry. Many people don't know anything about the sightseeing places in Iran, and they also don't speak English, which is currently the international language.
Another one of the main problems in the development of tourism of Iran is the formation of negative opinions about the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the dissemination of information in the media about human rights violations in the country, and about possible "danger" for tourists. Myself having once been in Iran, I can assure others of the stability and security of this country.
The Guardian newspaper recently announced the names of the 20 safest countries in the world some time ago, and Iran took the 17th place among them.
What places in Iran are most visited by tourists?
Most tourists come to the country for treatment, sightseeing, historical sites, and most of all for the purpose of trade, according to official statistics. Tourists visit Khorasan Razavi province (Mashhad), Ilam, West Azerbaijan, Ardabil, East Azerbaijan, Tehran, Khuzestan, Sistan, Baluchestan and Gilan most of all. Most tourists come from Iraq, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India and Bahrain.
Some 81 percent of tourists come to the country because they had heard about it beforehand, 14.5 percent arrive on tourist visas, 4 percent through the promotion of satellite TV, and 0.5 percent having familiarized themselves with the exhibitions organized outside of Iran.
President of Iranian Tour Operators Association Ibrahim Purfaraj told reporters on Oct.31 that over 12,000 residents of European countries have applied to the association to take part in the tourist VIP travel to this country on a luxury train.
He said it is necessary to organize additional 80 tours in order to ensure the travel of this number of VIP tourists to Iran on a luxury train.
Purfaraj said the majority of tourists who have applied to participate in the VIP travel on a luxury train to Iran are from the UK, Germany and France, US and Australia.
He said it is planned to organize nine VIP tours on the Budapest-Tehran route in 2015. The Budapest-Tehran VIP train, in which all conditions have been created for passengers, leaves Budapest for Romania and arrives in Iran through the territories of Bulgaria and Turkey.
The financial turnover throughout the world in the tourism industry is expected to increase in the 21st century and reach $2 trillion in the subsequent years. Given that one percent of this amount falls to the countries with developed tourism sphere, this will bring $20 billion worth of profit. This sum will create opportunities for Iran and other countries with such economic system and affect other spheres of economy as well.
Trend commentator, Temkin Jafarov
Edited by CN