Iran sees 3.35 million foreign tourists in H1

Iran saw 3.35 million tourist arrivals in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), which soars 38 percent year on year, a government official said on Monday.

Iran (IMNA) - The rate of tourist arrivals, mainly from Iran’s neighboring countries, has been “promising”, Ali-Asghar Shalbafian, who is the deputy tourism minister said on Monday.

“The course of attracting inbound passengers was promising so that from the first of the year to end of Shahrivar, three million and 354 thousand travelers entered the country, which shows a growth of 38% compared to a year earlier,” Shalbafian said in a press conference.

He probably hinted at the country’s tourism revival as coronavirus restrictions have been eased, but remained way below pre-pandemic levels.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeks a border-easing strategy based on which it may unilaterally drop visa requirements for passport holders of 60 states, the official noted.

The scheme recommends unilateral cancellation of visas with Muslim countries and neighboring states to increase international arrivals, the official said.

The Islamic Republic recorded about 850,000 foreign tourist arrivals during the first two months of the year, which shows over 50 percent growth year on year, the tourism ministry announced earlier this year.

According to the statistics bureau of the World Tourism Organization, Iran’s foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 rose 315 percent from a year earlier. Data showed around 4.1 million tourists came to the country in 2022, while the Islamic Republic attracted 990,000 tourists in 2021.

The upsurge of foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 was three times the global average growth in this field. Nevertheless, Iran's share in attracting foreign tourists is still small, and only 0.4% of all foreign tourist trips in 2022 have been made to Iran, the report said.

Before the COVID pandemic, Iran's tourism had constantly been growing, reaching more than eight million visitors in the Iranian calendar year 1398 (started March 21, 2019). That surge, however, helped prejudices to become thick and thin.

Iran’s tourism, however, was already grappling with some challenges, on top of those Western “media propaganda” aimed at scaring potential travelers away from the Islamic Republic. Some say Iran is still somehow “unknown” for many potential travelers due to such a “media war.”

The Islamic Republic has steadily stepped up efforts to use tourism, over the past couple of years, to help promote its international image battered by endless opposition mostly from the U.S.

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 27 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.


News ID 690602


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