Mashhad as major tourism hub in Iran

TEHRAN, Sep. 06 (MNA) – Head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization remarked that the Holy city of Mashhad is the destination of 50 percent of foreign visitors.

During a seminar last night in Mashhad, Masoud Soltanifar pointed to Mashahad’s capacity and high tourism potential and said, “in addition to domestic tourists who travel from all over Iran to Mashhad, 50 percent of visitors from overseas also choose this holy city as a tourism destination.”

He reported that Mashahd welcomed 1.6 million visitors from Iraq last year and added, “Mashhad’s high capacity as a major tourism hub in Iran has created the opportunity to introduce this city as an epicenter of halal tourism in the region.”

“At present, a management model is being observed in tourism organization, and the organization is seeking to increase public formations and downsize governmental institutions,” he maintained, “the world’s revenue for tourism, entertainment and leisure is 6500 billion dollars per year, of which 1250 billion dollars derives from visitors’ traveling to other countries.”

He went on saying, “in 2013, the revenue from foreign tourism in the world constituted 187 million dollars, of which Iran’s share is only 0.5 percent.”

“In the area of cultural heritage, we have more than 1 million historical artifacts in Iran of which 32,000 has been nationally registered,” he remarked, “If we can register 10 to 15 percent of these artifacts, the number of visitors to these buildings and cultural heritage will greatly increase.”

Soltanifar added, “fortunately, applying for an Iranian visa has doubled. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Medical Council and hope to see a development in medical tourism.”

According to the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, 17 significant Iranian monuments have been registered in the world records and another 48 await registration.

By Mehr News Agency

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