Foreign arrivals in Iran hits 8 million in 10 months: tourism minister

February 7, 2020 - 19:31

TEHRAN - Some eight million foreign nationals have visited Iran since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2019) despite [U.S.] sanctions and a sharp decline in flights by some foreign airlines, tourism minister has said.

“Over the past couple of months, [the tourism sector of] Iran has been suffering from sanctions and decrease in the number of flights by foreign airlines, however, the Islamic Republic has played host to some eight million foreign travelers during the first ten months of the year,” Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on Wednesday, IRIB reported. 

Mounesan made the remarks in Tehran on the sidelines of a ceremony to inaugurate 472 tourism projects worth 20 trillion rials (about $510 million) through videoconferencing, the report said.

The projects are estimated to generate 4,200 jobs and add 8,700 beds to the country’s hotels, hostels, guesthouses and eco-lodges.

Iran was ranked the third fastest growing tourism destination in the globe in 2019, with 27.9 percent growth year on year, according to the latest statistics released by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

In January, Mounesan issued a statement, inviting all travelers and holidaymakers to visit the ancient land, saying that the country-size guesthouse is wholeheartedly ready to receive tourists from around the world.

He emphasized that the Iranian government is trying its best to host incoming tourists by improving tourism infrastructure, offering attractive and pocket-friendly packages, as well as incentives such as visa waivers or 90-day visas on arrival.

Iran welcomed some 7.8 million foreign nationals last year, achieving 52.5 percent increase year on year.

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


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