Spain keen to expand tourist exchange with Iran

January 17, 2006 - 0:0
MADRID (IRNA) – Head of Spain's National Tourist Office (Turespania) Amparo Fernandez has called for increased tourist exchanges with Iran, given Iran's cultural and tourist attractions.

She told IRNA that since Iran is determined to increase its revenue through tourism and Spain is considered as the world's second tourist hub, the two countries have the potential for more effective cooperation in the sector.

"Iran is not merely an attractive destination for European tourists because of its cultural features, but is one of the world's most economical tourist centers in view of the fact that fares for domestic flights are among the cheapest.

Fernandez referred to suitable tourist lodgings and accommodations, particularly in the Caspian Sea area, as another advantage of the industry in Iran.

Putting the number of Spanish tourists who visited Iran in 2004 at 2000, she said that the figure is trivial compared to the tourist attractions and facilities of the country.

Turning to the agreement signed between the two sides in 2005 on facilitating issue of entry visas, she hoped to witness a remarkable growth in exchange of tourists in the current year.

She assessed the present level of bilateral tourist relations as satisfactory and effective and hoped that the two agreements inked earlier to the effect will help develop tourist exchange between Iran and Spain.

One of the cooperation documents was signed between the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization in mid-Spring of 2005 and the other one was inked between the Iranian Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Spain's state representative for tourist affairs in 2002.

Fernandez pointed to agreements on cooperation in economic, trade and transport fields, removal of dual taxation, customs and support of mutual investment as some of the bilaterally inked agreements contributing to expansion of tourist ties. Meanwhile, she referred to the plans of the Spanish government to attract more foreign tourists and said, "Special focus has been placed on publicity and marketing to introduce Spain's various attractions."

She predicted a promising prospect for the industry in the world and said that in the last two decades, the number of international tourists has doubled and that the relevant expenses have increased five times.

As the world's second tourist destination, Spain is visited by more than 50 million tourists annually and its revenue from this source exceeds 40 billion dollars.