Foreign tourists in Iran jump 315 percent y/y

May 19, 2023 - 19:24

TEHRAN – Iran’s foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 rose 315 percent from a year earlier, as mentioned by the statistics bureau of the World Tourism Organization.

Data showed around 4.1 million tourists came to the country in 2022 while the Islamic Republic attracted 990,000 tourists in 2021, IRNA reported on Friday.

The rise of foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 was three times the global average growth in this field. Nevertheless, Iran's share in attracting foreign tourists is still small, and only 0.4% of all foreign tourist trips in 2022 have been made to Iran, the report said.

Published by Statista Research Department on May 15, the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide roughly doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year, after falling dramatically with the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Overall, Europe recorded the highest number of arrivals, with around 594.5 million arrivals in 2022. Although this number represented a significant annual increase, the number of international arrivals in this region remained below pre-pandemic levels.

The COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges for the global travel and tourism market in 2020 and 2021 as countries around the world implemented lockdowns and travel bans to curb the number of infections.

An estimated 62 million jobs were lost in the travel and tourism industry worldwide in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the share of the global travel and tourism industry in the total gross domestic product in 2020 almost halved compared to the previous year due to the pandemic, then rose slightly in 2021.

According to a report released by the European Travel Commission, the global volume of inbound travelers is forecast to increase sharply in 2022 and further increase in 2023. Looking at the regional breakdown of global visitor growth in inbound tourism this year, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to see the highest annual growth in inbound tourism.

Impact of the pandemic on Iran tourism

Experts believe even before the pandemic, Iran’s tourism was already grappling with some challenges, on top of those Western “media propaganda” aimed at scaring potential travelers away from the Islamic Republic. They say Iran is still somehow “unknown” to many potential travelers due to such a “media war.”

Before the COVID pandemic, Iran's tourism had constantly been growing, reaching more than eight million visitors in the Iranian calendar year 1398 (started March 21, 2019). That surge, however, helped prejudices to become thick and thin.

However, Iran’s trump card is that the country benefits from a wide variety of travel destinations ranging from seacoasts and lush green woods to towering mountains and harsh deserts. As a wallet-friendly destination with hospitable people, Iran has long been a desired destination for nature lovers, birdwatchers, powder chasers, culture devotees, pilgrims, museum-goers, foodies, adventurers, and medical travelers, to name a few.


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