“A total of 715,519 foreign travelers, mainly from Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, visited Iran during the first three months of the current year,” the deputy tourism minister Ali-Asghar Shalbafian announced on Wednesday.
The official said over 1,957,000 international travelers, the majority of whom were from the neighboring countries, arrived in the country during the past [Iranian] year (1400), Mehr reported.
Iran’s tourism industry has tremendously suffered from the international coronavirus restrictions so the number of foreign arrivals in 1399 decreased by more than 94% in comparison to the year 1398, the official noted.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the deputy minister said only 74 foreign travelers arrived in the country during the spring of 1399. “During the first three months of the year 1399, only 74 foreign tourists visited Iran.”
“Citizens from the neighboring countries have been the main source of tourism for Iran since coronavirus restrictions were eased several months ago,” Shalbafian said, addressing the World Tourism Industry Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, on June 23.
“A turning point in the country’s tourism trend in the post-coronavirus period is the welcoming of tourists from neighboring countries.”
Iran’s tourism has experienced a boom in domestic tourism and a large number of Iranian citizens traveling during the Persian new year holiday (Noruz), the increase in incoming tourists following the re-issuance of visas, and the facilitation of the required conditions for tourists in post-coronavirus time, the official explained.
Last year, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts announced that tourism in 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.
Iran was ranked as the second fastest-growing country in tourism based on data compiled by the World Tourism Organization.
Experts expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after the 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.
Iran seeks 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.