Tourism Ties on French Agenda

Tourism Ties on French AgendaTourism Ties on French Agenda

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has made development of tourism ties with Iran a priority, according to the head of Tourism Unit at France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday at the French Embassy in Tehran, Michel Durrieu, who is heading an 18-strong delegation of French investors, elaborated on how his country is benefitting from a thriving tourism industry.

"France is the world's leading holiday destination. The contribution of tourism to France's GDP is 7% and has created two million jobs," he said.

Drawing parallels between the two states' cultural, historical and natural heritages, Durrieu said Iran can become a tourism hotspot if it develops its infrastructure.

"That's why we are here: to discuss investment opportunities with Iranians to help the country accommodate the expected influx of tourists," he said.

The official singled out hotel projects and winter sports facilities as the delegation's main investment interests, but did not rule out financing projects in other fields as well.

Durrieu pointed to a meeting he had earlier at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance where he was briefed on Iran's investment laws.

"We did not speak in detail, but it does not look like the laws would be problematic," he said. In response to Financial Tribune's question about how French officials intend to promote Iranian tourism in France after years of smear campaign against Iran in the western media, Durrieu said tour operators will play a key role in combating Iranophobia.

"Ten travel agencies in France are offering Iran tours," he said, adding that the number of French tourists visiting Iran doubles every six months.

During their three-day visit, the French delegation is expected to meet with Iranian investors and tourism professionals, and assess Iran's investment potentials.