TEHRAN (Iran News) –Minister of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Ezzatollah Zarghami said here that more than 2,900,000 foreign tourists have traveled to Iran in 11 months.
Talking to the Iranian state TV on Tuesday night, Zarghami said that in the last 11 months, especially after the reissuance of visas, more than 2.9 million foreign tourists have traveled to Iran, adding that the number of foreign tourists is increasing rapidly.
Zarghami said that according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), the tourism industry will return to the normal situation before the COVID-19 Pandemic by the end of 2024 and the tourism industry in Iran will progress earlier than this date.
Over 2.9 million foreigners visit Iran in 11 months
He also said, “Iranophobia is one of the main obstacles to tourism development. Both our rivals in the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and our enemies in the U.S. and Europe are trying to propagate Iranophobia.”
Zarghami pointed out that Qatar has invested 200 billion dollars only in attracting tourists, while none of the countries in our region have the diverse advantages of Iran’s tourism, including our historical, natural, cultural, and medical advantages.
Referring to the importance of developing tourism diplomacy, the minister added: “In the development of tourism, we gave priority to neighboring countries. We signed MoCs with 11 neighboring countries and presented a plan for the development of land tourism with Tajikistan, which was welcomed by the president of the country, we offered the land route and cheap tourism to the countries of Central Asia.”
“Our cultural attaches have a mission to introduce Iran’s tourist attractions and handicrafts all over the world. This is our strategy to deal with the Iran-phobic policy,” the Minister of Cultural Heritage noted.
He said that according to the World Tourism Organization estimates, it is expected tourism industry return to its normal condition which has been affected by the COVID pandemic.
Zarghami went on to say that the ministry is pursuing some land travel for neighboring countries in order to attract more tourists from those countries. He admitted that the country despite having many historic monuments and sites has fallen behind in promoting them, adding that despite existence of 800 museums in the country they have been passive and they should show some dynamism in displaying history of the country.
He admitted that recent floods in the country has inflicted damages on the historic places in the country and some 730 places have been damaged which costs over 2,000b tomans and the country needs investment to protect these historic assets.