Rouhani inaugurates 526 tourism projects in 24 provinces

May 29, 2021 - 18:30

TEHRAN - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday inaugurated 526 tourism projects worth 25.37 trillion rials (about $604 billion at the official rate of 42000 rials) in 24 provinces via video conference.

The projects, which included hotels, apartment hotels, eco-lodge units, and rural guesthouses, are expected to generate jobs for 2697 people, according to data provided by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Rouhani said that a surge in the number of accommodation centers can be considered as having a boom in the tourism sector of the country. “As the number of our hotel and accommodation beds across the country has increased from 219,000 to 465,000, it means that we are expecting a surge in domestic and foreign tourism.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, he reminded of tourism contribution to economic development, saying “The tourism industry is a very prosperous economy for the country and a renewable resource, and it is not exhaustible like the crude oil.”

The projects were simultaneously inaugurated across the provinces of East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan, Ardebil, Isfahan, Alborz, Ilam, Tehran, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, Khorasan Razavi, North Khorasan, South Khorasan, Khuzestan, Zanjan, Sistan-Baluchestan, Fars, Qazvin, Yazd, Kordestan, Kerman, Kermanshah, Gilan, Lorestan, Hoemozgan, and Hamedan.

Some experts believe that the tourist flow from across the world to Iran will return to normal in 2022. “Although there are requests for traveling to Iran in the current year (2021), most travel agencies and tour operators believe that the flow will go back to normal in the next year,” according to Ebrahim Pourfaraj who presides over the Iranian Tour Operators Association.

The average of international travels to and from Iran fell by 80 percent during the past Iranian calendar year 1399 (ended on March 20, 2021) from a year earlier. “During this period, 4,343,163 passengers entered the country, which included 3,030,464 Iranian passengers and 512,699 international travelers,” said Arezou Ghaniun, an official with the Islamic Republic of Iran's Customs Administration.

Coronavirus-related travel restrictions are seen as the main barrier standing in the way of the recovery of international tourism, along with slow virus containment and low consumer confidence. The lack of coordinated response among countries to ensure harmonized protocols and coordinated restrictions, as well as the deteriorating economic environment, were also identified by experts as important obstacles for recovery.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 24 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.