People, Travel

Lack of Rooms Turning Travelers Away

Iran has less than 140 four- and five-star hotels.Iran has less than 140 four- and five-star hotels.

A tourism official has claimed that 70% of foreign tours are turned away because of a severe lack of quality hotels.

According to Gholamheydar Ebrahimbay Salami, a member of the High Cultural Heritage and Tourism Council, a shortage of four- and five-star hotels has seriously hampered tourism development in the country.

“This is because the hotel sector has been in a sort of recession for over 40 years,” he was quoted as saying by

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, Iran ranks 119th among 141 countries in terms of tourism service infrastructures.

The official said a strong hotel industry is a pillar of a successful tourism sector, adding that hotels in Iran are poor in terms of numbers and service quality.

“Given Iran’s vast tourism potential, our current status is simply unacceptable,” he said.

Salami named Khorasan Razavi, Mazandaran and Tehran with 168, 97 and 96 hotels respectively as the top three provinces with the highest number of hotels in Iran, and Kohgilouyeh-Boyerahmad, North Khorasan and Zanjan with 4, 6 and 7 hotels respectively have the lowest number of hotels in the country.

There are just over 1,100 hotels in Iran, less than 140 of which boast four- and five-star ratings. In order to meet its ambitious goal of hosting 20 million visitors a year by 2025, Iran needs an additional 400 top quality hotels.

Last week, Morteza Rahmani Movahed, tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, said: “Less than half of our hotels can claim to meet international standards. Hotel grading in Iran does not follow the norm.

“Provinces in Iran regard star ratings as prestigious, so once a hotel is given a high rating, reducing it becomes impossible unless their problems become too big to ignore.”

The star ratings are “honorary” and do not reflect the quality of service and amenities, he added.

For the past decade, Iran has been working toward improving the quality of its hotels, but progress has been slow.