The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts encourages foreigners to invest in different department of cultural heritage in Iran. There is even a law for encouragement and support of foreign investments that covers all the non-commercial risks of investing in Iran, provided that the investor has an investment permit. A foreign investor can invest in tourism infrastructure and new foreign investment methods such as “financing project”, “buy back” and various build-operate–transfer methods (BOT) are recognized now. In addition, the process of application for foreign investment in the related board is facilitated in order to support the investors. In financing area for foreigners, according to the laws, at least 10% of the total financing share of the country must be allotted to the development of tourism and handicrafts projects.
In addition, according to a governmental enactment, in order to pave the way for domestic as well as foreign investment in Iran, more than 1,000 selected tourism areas are registered in tourism hubs throughout the country. Each of these areas have service centers, facilities, cultural and tourism center including residences, restaurants, shops, parks, etc. Foreigners can invest their money in developing these areas by building hotels, amusement parks, sport facilities, restaurants, etc. It should be noted that hotel managers in Iran can decide on the prices of their own hotels, considering their internal policies and the peak seasons.
There are several incentives for foreign investors in commercial-industrial free zones of Iran:
- 30 years of income tax exemption and property direct tax exemption for economic activities in the free zones (Article 20, commercial-industrial free zones administration law)
- Foreigners can rent land in Iran (Article 24, note 1, ibid)
- According to clause 1, article 5, exports, imports and customs regulation for commercial-industrial free zones, the imported material, equipment and construction tools for building production, commercial, service, residential and infrastructure projects are exempt from paying airport and seaport tolls, but have to pay service fees.
- According to the clause 2 of the same law, machines, materials, required parts and tools, production equipment and tools, production machine spare parts and capital vehicles (except personal cars and yachts), are exempt from paying airport and seaport tolls, but have to pay service fees.