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World Travel and Tourism Council suggests the Iran’s 2025 goals are more ambitious than previously thought
World Travel and Tourism Council suggests the Iran’s 2025 goals are more ambitious than previously thought

Tourism Stats in Spotlight

The lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with world powers in 2015 is a major factor bringing domestic tourism back to the growth path
domestic infrastructures, hoteliering, urban facilities and tour packages and prices are in dire need of modifications

Tourism Stats in Spotlight

A quick glance at Iran’s tourism statistics indicates that although the number of tourists experienced a gradual increase in the past few years, it shows a slight decline in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2017).
Last year, 4,901,000 tourists visited Iran, while the number was 5,199,000 in the previous year.
Since 5,044,000 tourists visited the country in the fiscal 2014-15, the declining curve of visitors is debatable, the Persian-language newspaper Donya-e-Eqtesad reported.
Elaborating on the situation, Seyyed Hadi Shirazi, the secretary of Iranian Tour Operators’ Association, said the number of incoming tourists should not be accounted for tourism stats.
“We should consider tour travel figures to obtain an accurate statistics about incoming tourists, as Iraqis, Afghans and Azerbaijanis who come to Iran to visit their relatives, or for health tourism purposes make up a huge part of the reported numbers,” he said.
According to the official, most tourists visited the country from Iraq, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Turkey (respectively accounting for 1,392,000, 979,000, 683,000 and 415,000 tourists to Iran) in the last Iranian year.
While some factors have made Iran a favorite tourism destination among western countries, fewer travelers visited the country from Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
The January 2016 attacks on the Saudi Embassy and Consulate in Tehran and Mashhad, which were carried out by protesters infuriated by Riyadh’s execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr without due process, led to the complete severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Morteza Rahmani Movahed, deputy for tourism at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, had earlier said Saudi tourist numbers have dropped by 90% and tourism from the region has declined by half.
However, referring to potential reasons behind the gradual boost in tourism, Shirazi said the lifting of sanctions on Iran following its nuclear deal with world powers in 2015 and the easing of concerns among Iranophobic nations are major factors bringing domestic tourism back to the growth path and recording a noticeable increase of 80-100%.
“The other less prominent, but still influential factor, is security. Recent political tensions in Iran’s neighboring countries have made the country more desirable as a secure tourism destination,” he said.

 Measures Needed
According to the official, the country’s underdeveloped tourism infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the growing demand, forcing travel agencies to reduce their tour capacities.
However, to realize the stated tourism goal of attracting 20 million travelers by 2025, domestic infrastructures, hoteliering, urban facilities and tour packages and prices are in dire need of modifications. Although the construction of quality hotels in major destinations seems to be satisfactory, “this year, we came up with the bizarre situation of low lodging capacity in the peak season. This should impel related authorities to boost accommodation services to rescue the industry,” Shirazi said.
Iran’s tourism sector continued to grow in 2016, but forecasts by the World Travel and Tourism Council suggest the country’s 2025 goals are more ambitious than previously thought.


 

 

 

 

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