Iran’s travel balance remains positive in H1

October 14, 2019

TEHRAN – Iran’s travel balance remained positive in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), deputy tourism minister said on Monday.

“Foreign arrivals in Iran grew by 26 percent during the first half of the current year in comparison with the same period last year,” Vali Teymouri said, CHTN reported.

The country’s travel balance kept being positive taking inbound and outbound passengers [in the six-month period] into account, the official noted.

“Getting over the last year’s economic shock and experiencing relative economic improvement let 4,258,944 people travel abroad in the first six months of this year, which represents a 15.95 percent increase [year on year].”

The official reminded that the number of Iranians traveling abroad stood at 3,673,092 in the same period last year.

He put the number of international arrivals at 4,998,215 for the first half of the current [Iranian calendar] year, adding the number corresponding for the same period last year stood at 3,956,071.

The official forecast that the rise would continue in the second half of the year.  

“Neighboring countries are a major source of tourism for Iran,” he said, adding, “Travelers from neighboring countries always hold the biggest share of arrivals in each country, and Iran is no exception.”

“Target countries have been identified based on [Iran’s] capacities in the fields of health tourism, religious tourism, natural and historical attractions…. and planning to attract more tourists is underway,” Teymouri explained.

Tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said in August that [Nearly] 7.8 million foreign nationals visited Iran over the past [Iranian calendar] year [ended March 20] that a significant number of whom were medical tourists.

“During the first three months of this year, the number of tourists arriving in the country increased by 40 percent, again [significant] part of whom was health tourism,” he said.

“Medical tourism is one of the most important fields of Iran’s travel sector and a [average] spending of $2,400 per tourist indicates its importance.”

The country hosted a record high of nearly 600,000 medical travelers during the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21-July 21), nearly equal to the figure for the whole past year, according to the Iranian Association for promoting health tourism.

People from the Persian Gulf littoral states, Iraq and Syria, as well as Iranian expatriates residing in Canada and Germany, constituted the majority of medical travelers to the Islamic Republic, who received plastic, cosmetic, open-heart and orthopedic surgeries amongst other treatments, Mohammad Panahi, a deputy for the association, said in July.

Medical tourism fetched Iran some $1.2 billion last year, Panahi said, adding that the figure has increased by 20-30 percent in the first four months of this year.

The Islamic Republic has set its goals to exceed its yearly medical travelers to around 2 million in [calendar year] 1404 (March 2025-March 2026).

AFM/MG

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