Tehran, Iran, May 22
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran is taking various measures to boost its incoming tourist number, according to Masoud Soltanifar, director of the country's Cultural Heritage, Handicraft, and Tourism Organization.
The incumbent government has taken big strides to boost incoming tourist number, he said, stating that it is working to waive visa for 28 countries, Tasnim news agency reported May 22.
Right now, 501 hotels are being built across the country, he said, adding that good transport infrastructure is also on the way.
"According to the sixth five-year development plan [which will start in 2017], we need to boost incoming tourist number from 5.2 million to 20 million," Soltanifar underlined.
He said during his recent trip to China, that it was decided to help raise the number of Chinese tourists visiting Iran from 150,000 to 2.5 million.
"We should prepare the necessary grounds. Chinese partners said they are even interested in building Chinese hotels and restaurants in Iran."
Iran will provide electronic visa facilities by the end of 2016, he said, adding that currently, visa-on-arrival is available to 190 nations at five major airports across Iran.
The official said that Iran's tourism growth in recent years has stood at 12 percent, while the global average has been 5 percent in the meantime.
Eighteen international tourism journals have stated that over 2016 and 2017, Iran will be one of the top five primary tourist destinations and top 10 non-primary destinations.