North-South corridor's impact on Iranian tourism sector – Expert

Business Materials 21 August 2017 19:43 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 21

By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:

Elaborating on the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), on which Iranian and Azerbaijani sides are working hard to fully launch, a Norway-based commentator suggested that the corridor could help in boosting the Islamic Republic’s tourism sector.

“The corridor would play a key role in improving Iran’s tourism industry as it is capable of facilitating tourists’ inflow to the country,” Mehrdad Seyed Asgari, a Norway-based Iranian financial analyst, told Trend.

The INSTC is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

Mehrdad Seyed Asgari also touched upon the new opportunities for cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan. He said that, Azerbaijani entrepreneurs already in possession of international standards and norms know-how could assist Iran in the improvement of the quality of its tourism sector.

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), Iran is the most inexpensive place to travel and invest. Nonetheless, the country ranked 93rd among 136 countries across 14 categories in the latest Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the WEF.

In a bid to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure, Iran has launched several projects to build new hotels, but there is a need for bringing the quality of service to the international standards, the commentator said.

Over the current fiscal year (starting March 20) Iran has launched about 950 projects, worth $9 billion, to develop its tourism infrastructure, including 500 hotels and serviced apartments, Asgari added.

Estimating the shortage of knowledge and experience for improvement of the tourism services in Iran, he pointed out Azerbaijan’s breakthrough in its tourism sector over the past years and suggested that Azerbaijani entrepreneurs would be capable of transferring their know-how to the Islamic Republic.

Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report indicated that Azerbaijan, at 71st position, was one of the most improved economies, rising 13 places in the global rankings.

The expert further forecasted a bright future for the whole tourism industry in the world, as the sharp slump in oil prices, which are unlikely to surge considerably in the near future, have left a positive impact on tourism sector.

According to the report, the travel and tourism industry had contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy (10.2 percent of global GDP) and generated 292 million jobs (1 in 10 jobs on the planet) in 2016.