Iran eyes tourism a fertile source of revenue
Iran regards tourism a fertile source of generating wealth, seeking to make the best use of positive atmosphere created in the wake of the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Based on official figures compiled by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, foreign tourist arrivals in Iran has been more than double that of the global average since the implementation of the deal.
CHTHO Director Zahra Ahmadipour has said that the country needs to breathe fresh air into the sector in order to achieve sustainable growth and grasp boom in the number of foreign arrivals.
Ahmadipour who also doubles as vice president plans to integrate variety of Iranian hotels into an umbrella brand, which travelers find it a reliable source for arranging accommodation and other services.
In September 2016, Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index released its annual report, placing Tehran at ninth place among the top-ten fastest growing destination cities.The bustling yet historical Iranian capital has witnessed a growth of 12.98 percent in terms of the international overnight visitor arrivals, the report said.
Massive efforts made by the government shoulder to shoulder with the private sector have stimulated growth in the sector. However, in comparison to established international norms, tourism is pretty young in Iran resulting in quite poor accommodation and transport infrastructure in many parts of the country.
Some tourism associates believe the booming travel business is creating a nationwide shortage of four- and five-star hotels as many of the existing ones may be overbooked at the moment.
Tehran played host to a two-day conference revolving around the motto of “100 Hotels, 100 Businesses” last September. It laid the ground for representatives of some twenty countries to focus on investment scenarios.
French multinational hotel group, AccorHotels, plans to undertake massive projects across Iran to the extent that may culminate in building 100 hotels within a decade, Accor’s Middle East Managing Director Christophe Landais said in October 2016.
“Iran has absolutely everything, in terms of very rich history, extraordinary geography … [and a] true sense of hospitality,” Sebastien Bazin, Accor’s chief executive, told the Financial Times in 2015. “If you look at the capacity of Iran, we should be managing close to 100 hotels.”
To make it easier and more profitable for investors, 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 the sector.
With countless natural beauties, deeply-rooted-in-time history and culture, as well as abundance of tourist sites, 21 of which have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, Iran seeks to acquire greater share of the global tourism industry.
“Iran offers its visitors an original destination for lovers of skiing and sunbathing, on the beaches of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. It also attracts those in love with culture, art and history,” Le Figaro reported on January 20, noting that the country is a widening source of charm for the French as both travelers and tour operators focus on its natural and cultural richness.
An undated photo above shows a circle of foreign and domestic travelers visiting the ruins of Persepolis in southern Iran.
Tehran’s Baran Theater will be hosting two troupes from Italy and Japan for performances, which will begin on April 23.