U.S. plots fail to deter foreign travelers from visiting Iran, VP says

December 24, 2019 - 19:26

TEHRAN – Millions of foreign nationals did not pay attention to the U.S. sanctions and plots, aiming to discourage potential travelers from visiting the Islamic Republic, First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Monday.

“Americans assumed that sanctions would prevent foreign tourists from traveling to our country, but statistics show that each year, the number of international travelers has increased by [some] 30 percent  since [the Iranian calendar year] 1397 when the sanctions were [re-]imposed,” Jahangiri said, IRIB reported.

“More than seven million foreign travelers have arrived in the country since the start of the [current Iranian] year, which shows an annual 30 percent growth,” the official noted.

Deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri said in November that foreign travelers have not been deterred by Iranophobia.

“I, as an expert, who has been working in the field of tourism for the past twenty years, believe that the main challenge of our travel industry is that Iran is internationally unknown. Moreover, over the past years, an Iranophobia project [orchestrated] by our enemies have been added too,” Teymouri explained.

In November 2017, the Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran, mainly the ones that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, in order to batter Iran’s economy.

The sanctions, however, together with anti-Iran propaganda campaigns have decreased Western tourists but Iran has managed to compensate the blow even flourishing its tourism by doing its best to attract more from neighboring states.

To encourage people form some target markers, Iran has attempted to ease traveling from Iraq, China, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Pakistan, and several other countries who arrive in Iran for medical, pilgrimage and cultural heritage purposes.

For instance, some two million Iraqi nationals visited Iran during the first seven months of the past Iranian calendar year, constituting Iran’s largest source of inbound passengers.

Iran eyes to have a bigger share of Chinese tourism, as it, in a unilateral measure, recently approved to waive the visa requirement for the Chinese passport holders.

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s latest report indicates that Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran in 2018, as Iraqis constituted 24% of all inbound visitors. Other major sources were Azerbaijan (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%). The remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.

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. The country

Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

AFM/MG

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