Tehran Times- Iran regards tourism industry a source for generating wealth, and is seeking to make the best use of positive atmosphere created in the wake of the nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, signed in January 2016.
Iran needs to breathe fresh air into the sector in order to achieve sustainable growth and grasp boom in the number of foreign arrivals, Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Director Zahra Ahmadipour said in an address to executive members of the Iranian Tour Operators Associations (ITOA).
The official, who doubles as vice president, also called for cementing tourism infrastructure in general and establishing a framework of prestigious chain hotels in particular, ISNA reported on Tuesday.
In a recent move, Iran has also offered to grant years of tax exemption to both domestic and foreign businesses and individuals as an incentive for ramping up investments in its tourism sector.
“The country should integrate variety of its hotels into an umbrella brand, which travelers find it a reliable source for arranging accommodation and other services,” Ahmadipour said.
During the meeting, ITOA Director Ebrahim Pourfaraj reminded attendees of the growing international demands for visiting the country, saying Iran is being turned into a major tourism destination for European tours and travelers.
Iran expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots, including 21 ones that have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, after it agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions in July 2015.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Iran has been more than double that of the global average since the implementation of the JCPOA, CHTHO announced in Oct. 2016.
In July 2016, Iran increased its visa on arrival extension from 1 month to 3 months.
For the time being, citizens of about 190 countries can obtain visa on arrival at the country’s airports with one-month validation.
Some $24 billion came into Iran over the past three and a half years because of foreign tourists, CHTHO Deputy Director Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed announced in Sep. 2016.
Over 16 million foreign tourists visited the country during the mentioned period.
Photo: Western tourists walk along a platform at the Tehran railway station on October 27, 2014. (AFP/Atta Kenare)