Iran’s emergent tourism sector is expected to ramp up by 11.6 percent in 2017 by scoring over 5.5 million international tourist arrivals, the World Travel and Tourism Council suggested.
The country generated 130,525 billion rials (about $3.4 billion) in visitor exports in 2016 while its number of international tourist arrivals is expected to reach about 10 million by 2027, generating expenditure of 203,623 billion rials (about $5.2 billion), an increase of 3.4% year on year, WTTC said in a recent annual report titled “Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2017– Iran”.
However, the forecasts provided by WTTC considerably differs from the goals set by the country for the coming decade. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision plan, Iran is expecting to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million by 2025.
Iran seeks to acquire greater share of the global tourism industry, as relies on its world famous hospitality, countless natural beauties, deeply-rooted-in-time history and culture, as well as abundance of tourist sites, 21 of which have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
In regional scale, the country is ranked first with regard to the predicted growth of the sector’s direct contribution to employment (4.9%) this year, more than double the Mideast and global average (both at 2.1%).
Based on the report, the direct contribution of the sector to GDP in 2016 was $11.9 billion, comprising 2.9% of total GDP, up $3.5 billion from 2015. The contribution is expected to rise by 7.5% in 2017 and is forecast to increase by 2.6% annually for the next 10 years, reaching $16.6 billion in 2027 (2.7% of GDP).
Direct contribution primarily reflects the economic activity generated by industries such as hotels, travel agencies, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). But it also includes, for example, the activities of restaurants and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
Leisure travel spending (inbound and domestic) generated 92.3% of the industry’s direct contribution to GDP, compared with 7.7% for business travel spending.
Foreign visitor expenditure made up 20.2% of the sector’s direct contribution to GDP, up from 7.4% in 2.15.
The sector’s total (both direct and indirect) contribution to GDP was $31.5 billion (7.7% of GDP).
Domestic travel spending generated 79.8% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP in 2016 compared with 20.2% for visitor exports (i.e. foreign visitor spending or international tourism receipts).
The annual report also touches upon job employment generated by tourism industry in Iran, suggesting an annual increase of 1.3% over the next 10 years.
Iran’s tourism industry generated 559,000 jobs directly in 2016 (2.2% of total employment) and this is forecast to grow by 4.9% in 2017. By 2027, the industry is predicted to generate 670,000 jobs directly.
This includes employment by hotels, travel agencies, airlines and other passenger transportation services (excluding commuter services). It also includes, for example, the activities of restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists.
The United Nations has designated 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. “The outlook for the Travel & Tourism sector in 2017 remains robust and will continue to be at the forefront of wealth and employment creation in the global economy, despite the emergence of a number of challenging headwinds.”
Together with Oxford Economics, WTTC produces annual research that shows Travel & Tourism to be one of the world’s largest sectors, supporting over 292 million jobs and generating 10.2% of global GDP in 2016.
The council promotes sustainable growth for the Travel & Tourism sector, working with governments and international institutions to create jobs, to drive exports and to generate prosperity.