Iranian provinces tasked to expand own overseas tourism markets

December 22, 2019 - 21:36

TEHRAN – In order to promote decentralization in the domestic tourism industry, each Iranian province is tasked to develop its own tourism market abroad, particularly for visitors from nearby countries.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Ministry on Saturday has instructed provincial tourism departments to establish mutually beneficial relationships with different target countries, ISNA reported.

In a video conference, Mohammad-Ebrahim Larijani, the ministerial director of advertising and marketing office, and provincial tourism authorities discussed a 21-paragraph directive, which mainly focuses on attracting tourists from neighboring countries and its associated infrastructure, preliminaries and policies, the report said.

From the beginning of this [Iranian calendar] year (March 21, 2019), each province has been commissioned to develop its own international tourism market based on the directive.

According to the directive, each province is fully awarded of its own target markets, providing promotional products using target countries’ languages, updating the office tourism websites with relevant, practical material, the report said.

Installation of foreign-language direction signs, operating fam tours, training courses for travel agencies, hoteliers, tour guides and other related businesses to identify tourists’ interests and preferences, were amongst other points in the directive.

The directive, which enters to partnership with municipalities, Foreign Ministry and other executive bodies, also aims to deepen international collaborations such as city twinning agreements, joint conferences, exhibits and seminars, community membership and related networks, the official explained.

Many domestic experts say that medical tourism in Iran produces win-win outcomes as the country yields considerable benefits to international health-care seekers, offering affordable yet quality treatment services. People from the Persian Gulf littoral states, Iraq and Syria as well as Iranian expatriates residing in Canada and Germany constitute the majority of medical travelers to the Islamic Republic, who receive plastic, cosmetic, open-heart and orthopedic surgeries amongst other treatments.

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

Some 6.7 million foreign nationals have visited the country since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year, Mojtaba Karimi, who presides over Foreign Ministry’s visa and passport department, was quoted by IRNA as saying on December 4.

Iran welcomed some 7.8 million foreign nationals last year, achieving 52.5 percent increase year on year. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran in 2018, constituting 24% of all inbound visitors. Azerbaijan with (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%) constituted other major sources while the remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots, including 22 ones that have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

AFM/MG

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