People, Travel

Inbound Tours Double Since July 2015

Inbound Tours Double Since July 2015Inbound Tours Double Since July 2015

The number of Iran’s inbound tours has doubled since a landmark nuclear deal was reached with the six world powers in July 2015, the president of the Iranian Tour Operators’ Society said.

Ebrahim Pourfaraj also told IRNA that the country is expected to receive more than five million foreign tourists by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2017).

“Excluding pilgrims, Europeans constitute the largest segment of our inbound tourists, with Germans, Italians and the French ranking first to third respectively,” he said.

Innovative short-term solutions, including the launch of VIP train tours that attracted western tourists (many of whom are academics) to Iran, have attained partial success in addressing lodging shortcomings.

These tours carried foreign travelers to a number of popular destinations in Iran aboard luxury trains with equipment and services matching five-star hotels.

“As the country’s lodging infrastructure is woefully underdeveloped, accommodating several hundred visitors in a ‘moving’ five-star hotel seems like a miraculous solution,” said Pourfaraj, adding that two more trains have been booked for the current year.

Organizing sport competitions has also played a major role in developing inbound tourism. Two rounds of rally competitions in Lut Desert, in which around 78 contestants drove their motor vehicles across the vast desert, were among events welcomed by foreigners.

“Most foreign tourists were of the opinion that Iran is an absolutely safe country and appropriate for tourists, and it is a pity that it does not have sufficient lodging facilities,” Pourfaraj said.

Official statistics indicate that 5.2 million tourists visited Iran in 2015. Against the backdrop of the post-sanctions era, Iran is aiming to reach the target of 20 million tourists by 2025.