People, Travel

New Incentives, Tax Breaks Proposed for Travel Agencies

New Incentives, Tax Breaks Proposed for Travel AgenciesNew Incentives, Tax Breaks Proposed for Travel Agencies

A senior official at the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization has suggested granting tax breaks to Iranian travel agencies that operate overseas and bring tourists into the country.

“They would only receive a tax exemption on revenues generated through organizing tours for foreign tourists,” Morteza Rahmani Movahed, deputy for tourism at ICHHTO, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency.

He said tourism has the potential to become a major source of income for the country; as such, efforts should be made to encourage the development of the sector.

“The travel industry is usually heavily supported by governments in other countries,” Movahed said, adding that tax breaks are a common incentive around the world to help promote growth.

According to the Persian daily Ettelaat, Seyyed Kamel Taqavinejad, director of the Iranian National Tax Administration, has welcomed the suggestion.

“We’ve planned incentives for every sector with the potential to grow in the next fiscal year (starts March 20), and tourism is also in the program,” he said.

INTA has already approved granting hotels and lodging facilities a tax holiday for five years, and a 50% permanent exemption.

Nevertheless, hoteliers are pushing for permanent tax-exemption, claiming that the move will help boost domestic tourism as it will allow hotel owners to reduce prices.

Currently, Iranian travel agencies pay no tax on revenues generated through group pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria.