Over 3000 Tourists from PGCC Visited Iran Last Year

June 27, 2002
TEHRAN- Over 3000 tourists from countries located in the southern part of the Persian Gulf visited Iran last year.

The Deputy Manager of the Iran Touring and Tourism Organization (ITTO), Seyed Mohsen Imami, said, "In the past year over 1.5 million tourists visited Iran." He noted that the number of tourists declined by 20% for the first three months of this year compared to the same period last year. He said, "The events of September 11th and the visa requirement for citizens of Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) countries are some of the reasons for the decline in tourists visiting Iran.

"Although the rate of tourists visiting Iran increased by 30% in 2001 compared to 2000, again this decrease has occurred. The direct annual income of tourism is about one billion dollars, but by taking into consideration the purchases of tourists, this income is significantly higher.

Since many of these tourists come from Persian Gulf Cooperation Council Countries and stay in Iran longer, about half of this income comes from tourists from the Persian Gulf region." Imami stated that attracting tourists from PGCC countries is part of the fifteen-year national program to develop tourism which was initiated this year and is being prioritized during the first five years of the program.

Imami said, "We will try to compensate for the decline in tourists from Europe and America by holding various exhibitions and mutual meetings and we hope to attract more tourists from the southern part of the Persian Gulf. Since tourists from the Persian Gulf region have a similar culture and religion, they are very interested in visiting Iran.

"The residents of the southern part of the Persian Gulf spend 35 billion dollars annually on tourism. The good climate in the warm season, great tourist attractions, and inexpensive accommodations and goods and services are some of the things which attract tourists to Iran."