Last updated: 05:00 PM ET, Thu August 18 2016

Iran’s Tourism Sector Continues to Grow

Destination & Tourism | Janeen Christoff | August 18, 2016

Iran’s Tourism Sector Continues to Grow

Photo courtesy Thinkstock. 

Iran is among the top 20 countries in terms of the highest number of tourism attractions — including the ruins of Persepolis and the Meymand villages — but tourism in the country is not as well known as other Middle East countries. 

The AL Monitor looked at the tourism industry in Iran and how the country is upping its tourism sector to showcase its highly diverse culture, its four seasons and its wide range of activities. 

“Iran enjoys a highly diverse culture as it is home to many different ethnic and religious groups. It is also among the countries that enjoy four genuine seasons, giving every visitor the chance to choose from a wide range of activities and tastes,” writes Maysam Bizer. 

According to Al Monitor, the country is generally safe to visit and is also relatively inexpensive, however a lack of four- and five-star hotels as well as knowledge about Iran’s tourism sector are keeping an influx of visitors away.

When Hassan Rouhani was elected president of the country, his administration took steps to smooth the way for more tourism development and this is paying off — 4.8 million tourists visited Iran in 2013 when Rouhani took office and in 2014, that number grew to 5 million. 

“The implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA, has paved ground for growth and development in the country’s tourism sector,” said Masoud Soltanifar, vice president and chairman of ICHTO, in a speech earlier this month. 

Iran is also boosting its hotel industry. 

“A revolution has taken place in Iran’s hotel-building under the 11th [incumbent] government,” Soltanifar said, adding “35 four- and five-star hotels have become operational in the past three years. 170 more such hotels will be built over the next five years.” 

READ MORE: Destination Iran: Alexander + Roberts Opens a New Frontier  

The country is also streamlining its visa processing and making plans to attract more visitors from key countries such as Russia and China. 

There are more details on Iran’s tourism transformation here

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