Iran aims to draw some 6.5 million foreign travelers by the end of the current calendar year 1396 (March 20, 2018), though the country’s tourism infrastructure and public services are in need to be improved, a senior tourism official said on Monday.
In 1395, some 5.5 million travelers visited Iran, fetching about $8 billion for the country, IRNA reported.
“With proper planning and development of infrastructure, it is possible to meet our goals,” said Morteza Rahmani Movahhed, the deputy for tourism at the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization.
“However, it takes time to clean up international image of the county that for years have been tarnished by some Western outlets, the official added.
Following a landmark nuclear deal Tehran and world powers clinched in 2015, Iran is repeatedly named as a hot travel destination by a circle of international media outlets in terms of its rich history, picturesque sceneries, traditions, cuisine and hospitable people.
Iran’s brilliant goal is to lure 20 million foreign travelers annually by 2025. However, with only eight years to go, according to some experts, the target seems to be somewhat unachievable.
At the moment Europeans travelers from countries including France, Italy and Germany, who account for the majority of Western tourists, can now get visas on arrival in Tehran, and at the main sites they mingle with sightseers from China, Japan and elsewhere.
The government has also announced plans to create sufficient accommodation and transportation for the growing number of tourists. There is a plan to increase the number of higher-end hotels from 130 to more than 1,000 in 10 years.