ICHHTO Says Spending $7b on Infrastructure

ICHHTO Says Spending $7b on InfrastructureICHHTO Says Spending $7b on Infrastructure

In line with the government’s commitment to boosting tourism, 230 trillion rials ($7 billion) is being spent on the development of Iran’s tourism infrastructure, the Persian daily Donya-e Eghtesad reported.

In a meeting at Niavaran Palace and attended by representatives of tourism-related organizations, head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), Masud Soltanifar, said, “The budget is currently used for 940 projects, including construction of hotels, recreational facilities, and an amusement park. The projects are, on average, 40% complete.”

He said President Hassan Rouhani has expressed content with the tourism industry’s performance, adding, “The president offered his thanks to all the organizations involved and emphasized the necessity to double the efforts.”

Quoting the president, Soltanifar said that Iran’s tourism potential must be tapped for the sake of the country’s cultural and economic development, both of which are also influenced by the tourism industry.”President Rouhani calls for the need to develop tourism in every speech, which goes to show the special attention he gives the industry.”

 Moving Forward

He hailed the development of domestic tourism and asserted that while other sectors are struggling, tourism is moving forward.

In spite of a rise in foreign tourists, Iran did not fare well in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report published last week, ranking 97th globally. The report did, however, rank Iran 1st in terms of travel and investment costs, indicating Iran is primed for foreign investment.  

Major obstacles hampering Iran’s push towards a developed tourism industry include lack of skilled workers, poor environmental protection regulations, and visa difficulties. Furthermore, the negative image of Iran in the western world propagated by the western media has also hurt the industry in the past.

Iran’s 20-year Vision Plan targets 20 million tourists by 2025, which is estimated to rake in $30 billion. The country’s share of the world’s tourism income is a meager 0.5%, a figure which is expected to rise to 3% if the country meets its goals.

Given the cultural heritage, the country’s rich history, renowned hospitality, and the government’s commitment to boosting tourism, Iran can and will realize its potential to become a major tourist destination in the foreseeable future.