Outbound travels slump by 30%: tourism official

January 28, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s outbound tourism fell by 30 percent during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2018) from a year earlier, a tourism official has said.

“A total of 5,900,381 Iranians traveled overseas during the first nine months of the year, indicating a 30 percent decline compared with the same period last year,” Leyla Ajdari said, ISNA reported.

“During the same period last year 8,483,317 Iranian nationals traveled abroad,” said Ajdari, the director for tourism development office of the Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization.

A sharp rise in the value of foreign currencies against rial has pushed up the costs of traveling, which seems to be the main reason behind the decline in Iranians’ traveling overseas.

Talking on the country’s inbound travels, the official said “The nine-month foreign arrivals in Iran is up by 56 percent year on year.”

The country hosted 6,074,580 foreign nationals during the first nine months of the currant Iranian calendar year as the figure reached 3,893,277 in the same period last year, she added.

Experts say that U.S.-led sanctions together with its anti-Iran propaganda campaign has lessened Western travelers to the Islamic Republic but the country is doing its best to attract more visitors from neighbors.

According to Ajdari, more than 2.2 million Iraqis visited Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year, which shows 113 percent year-on-year increase, turning the neighboring country into Iran’s largest source of tourists, she explained.

Contrary to Americans, European arrivals in Iran has been declined, the official stated, adding “Some 1,980 U.S. citizens visited Iran during the nine-month period, which demonstrations 82 percent year-on-year growth.”

The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.

Iran embraces hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

AFM/MQ/MG

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