The exchange of tourists between Iran and its neighbors is expected to increase in the months to come, Iran’s deputy tourism minister Ali-Asghar Shalbafian has announced.
The official made the remarks during a meeting with Hamad Obaidalla the Chief Commercial Officer of Fly Dubai Airlines on Monday.
Increasing tourist exchanges with neighboring countries is on the agenda for Iran following the expansion of the flight network between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, he said.
To achieve this goal, the private and public sectors will consolidate their capacities, the official added.
For his part, Obaidalla said that currently, Fly Dubai Airlines operates 30 flights a week to Iran, and this capacity will grow to nearly 50 flights in the future.
By relying on this capability, tourists can be directed to Iranian tourist destinations effectively, he added.
Communication between the private sector of the two countries plays a crucial role in achieving executive strategies, he noted.
Back in September, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami announced the issuance of tourist visas and the flow of foreign tourists to Iran would resume as per President Ebrahim Raisi’s order following 19 months of suspension.
Currently, tourist visas are once again being issued to cultivate good grounds of hope for travel insiders.
However, months of steep recession have taken its toll. Many travel insiders, hoteliers, and tour operators have faced big dilemmas such as bankruptcy, unemployment, debts, and the prospects of not being competitive on the international level.
Only months into the outbreak, Zarghami’s predecessor, Ali-Asghar Mounesan, lamented that the number of foreign travelers to Iran was drastically plunged due to the pandemic.
“Tourism of the country was growing before the corona [outbreak], its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, nearing the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent,” Mounesan said. He added 8.7 million foreign nationals visited Iran during the [Iranian] year (1398),
adding that Iran was ranked as the second fastest-growing country in tourism based on data compiled by the World Tourism Organization.
The average of international travels to and from Iran fell by 80 percent during the past Iranian calendar year 1399 (ended on March 20, 2021) from a year earlier caused by various coronavirus restrictions.
Optimistic forecasts, expect the country would achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus is contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.
UNWTO’s Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in the current year, mostly in the third quarter. However, some experts suggest the rebound could occur only in 2022.
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 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.