Iran Witnesses 40% Surge in Foreign Tourist Arrivals, Deputy Tourism Minister Reports

Foreign arrivals to Iran during the first seven months of the current Iranian year have experienced a significant increase of 40% compared to the same period last year, according to Ali-Asghar Shalbafian, the deputy tourism minister. The rise in tourist arrivals, primarily from neighboring countries, is seen as a promising trend.

Iran (IMNA) - Shalbafian emphasized that Iran holds a substantial share of arrivals from its neighboring nations. The Ministry of Tourism has made considerable efforts to facilitate and diversify tourism sources. As an example, travelers from Iraq and Turkey can easily visit Iran in their own cars, and similar facilitation will soon be provided for travelers from Armenia.

Available data reveals that the Islamic Republic welcomed 3.35 million foreign arrivals in the first half of the current Iranian year, marking a remarkable 38% increase compared to the previous year.

In an effort to promote border accessibility, the Iranian government is considering the abolition of visa requirements for passport holders from 68 countries. While this move aims to encourage overseas travelers, it is not expected to be implemented in the immediate future, based on available evidence.

Shalbafian mentioned that the visa waiver incentive will mainly be granted to neighboring countries, as well as emerging markets with a significant population and per capita income.

In the latest news, a tentative list of countries has been compiled, consisting of Argentina, South Africa, Indonesia, Jordan, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ecuador, Algeria, UAE, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Belarus, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Paraguay, Peru, Tanzania, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Turkmenistan. This list includes nations whose nationals may be granted visa-free access.

Additionally, Tunisia, Czech Republic, Russia, Romania, Japan, Ivory Coast, Singapore, Senegal, Sudan, Seychelles, Chile, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, Finland, Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Qatar, Cameroon, Croatia, South Korea, Colombia, Comoros, Kuwait, Guinea, Poland, Luxembourg, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Hungary, Macedonia, Mexico, Mauritius, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Vietnam, Yemen, Greece, and India are other states whose nationals may also enjoy visa-free access.

According to Shalbafian, an official in the tourism industry, the number of tourist arrivals is projected to reach six million by the end of the current year (March 19, 2024). He stated last month, "With the steady increase in the arrival of foreign tourists, it is expected that the number of international arrivals will reach about 6 million by year-end."

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Iran's tourism sector experienced consistent growth, welcoming over eight million visitors in the Iranian calendar year 1398 (starting March 21, 2019), according to available data.

Furthermore, based on the latest United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) World Tourism Barometer, foreign tourist arrivals in Iran reached approximately 2.93 million between January and July 2023.

However, the average statistics of Iran's tourism from January to August 2023 indicate a 50% decline compared to the same period in 2019, as reported by the barometer monitoring the sector's recovery post-pandemic up to the end of July 2023.

News ID 704534


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