Iran says the number of tourists that visited the country last year increased by above 30 percent from a year earlier – what could be an indication that one of the world’s top travel destinations is already finding its lost flavor after the removal of sanctions.
A top trade official in Tehran told domestic media that Iran hosted over 6 million tourists over the last Persian calendar year that ended on 21 March 2017.
Ahmad Asqari Qajari, the director of the Tourism Department of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIM), said the figure showed an increase of above 2 million compared to a year earlier.
Asqari Qajari told Iran’s state news agency IRNA that Iran earned around $8 billion from tourism last year, stressing that the figure could increase even higher once the infrastructure for hosting a higher number of tourists were prepared.
With over 20 special sites that have been registered on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Iran has been frequently named as a must-visit travel destination.
The country aspires to host 20 million tourists annually by 2025, with expectations of expanding the tourist sector to $30 billion.
Iranian authorities have already unveiled sweeping plans including easing visa restrictions as well as constructing new hotels as part of efforts to attract more foreign tourists.
What is believed to have helped to prepare the grounds for a higher number of tourists visiting the country has been the removal of sanctions against Iran in 2016 which facilitated direct flights specifically from European capitals.