Longstanding Sino-Iranian relations could help foster tourism ties

July 17, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy tourism chief has said that longstanding cultural and trade relations between Iran and China could lay a solid ground for developing mutual tourism ties.

“We believe that the two countries have had common cultural and trade communications for a long time. So we should facilitate and improve mutual collaborations, especially in the tourism industry,” Vali Teymouri said in an interview with the South China Moring Post.

The official said that the Islamic Republic is expected to “attract one million Chinese in the near future” through the visa waiver, a significant increase on the more than 52,000 Chinese who visited the Middle East country in 2018, the SCMO reported on Monday.

Iran’s tourism chief Ali-Asghar Mounesan said earlier in June that the decision was “an effective step” to help increase the number of Chinese tourists and “we want to host two million tourists from China each year”.

The move is aimed at increasing the number of Chinese people who want to visit Iran and to raise the government’s non-oil revenues.

“We should believe that the tourism industry is [capable of] income generating more than the oil industry and that sanctions do not work on the tourism sector,” Mounesan said.

Iran’s tourism sector grew by 1.9% to contribute 1,158 trillion rials ($8.83 billion) or 6.5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 1,334 jobs (5.4% of total employment) in 2018, according to the latest World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual report.

The WTTC report, which digs into the economic impact and social importance of the sector, shows international visitors spent 168,954 billion rials (about $4 billion) in Iran in 2018.

Iran welcomed nearly 7.8 million foreign nationals during the past Iranian calendar year (March 2018-2019), showing a 52.5 percent surge from a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.  

AFM/MG

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