Iran tourism balance positive for first time in 35 years

Tehran, Iran, Nov. 11

By Milad Fashtami - Trend:

For the first time in 35 years, the number of tourists who traveled to Iran is more than the number of Iranian tourists visiting other countries.

Official data shows that a total number of 1.474 million tourists traveled to Iran in summer, Iran's Donya-e-Eqtesad News reported on Nov. 11.

It is while some 1.417 Iranians travel to foreign countries in the mentioned period.

According to Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) reports, the number of European tourists who travel to Iran in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 - September 22) has been increase by 200 percent compared to same period previous year.

ICHHTO Director Masoud Soltanifar said o October 24 that Iran's share out of the world's total $1.25 trillion tourism industry is only 0.5 percent.

"It is while Iran is among world's top countries in terms of tourist attractions," he said," Iran's IRNA News Agency reported on October 24.

"Iran's share should at least be 3 percent," Soltanifar noted.

"Iran's tourism industry earned only $6 billion in the previous calendar year (which ended on March 20)," he explained.

According to the official, Iran is the cheapest country for tourists in the Middle East region.

"Iran needs to improve its infrastructure and transportation system to absorb more tourists," he added.

Soltanifar previously said that Iran is world's 17th country in terms of safety.

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 as tourists.

Iran's First Vice President, Is'haq Jahangiri, said on August 25 that the number of tourists visiting Iran from the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 - August 23) increased by three times compared to same period previous year.

"Absorbing foreign tourists play an import role in boosting the country's economy," he said, Iran's IRNA News Agency reported.

"The government will allocate especial facilities to the investors active in the tourism industry," he explained.

It was previously reported that the number of European tourists visiting Iran increased by 240 percent in the first 45 days of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 - May 5).

Iran's tourism industry is booming, with more foreign travelers visiting the country than ever before. So much so that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is hoping to attract 10 million international tourists each year.

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, IRIB reported.

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.

Edited by CN

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