TEHRAN – Foreign tourist arrivals in Iran has been more than double that of the global average since the implementation of the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, Iran’s tourism chief announced here on Sunday.
The fact that attracting overseas investors [in tourism sector] is both an opportunity and a necessity for Iran, it lays the foundation for eager businesses to invest in the country, Masoud Soltanifar said.
He made the remarks in an address to the opening ceremony of International Tourism Investment Conference, which brought together a panel of top Iranian officials and businesses executives along with representatives of hotel builders, investors, and hoteliers from 17 countries, IRNA reported.
Soltanifar, who is the director of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), also noted that the income generated from foreign travels and tourism in 2015 accounts for 7.6 percent of Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) based on figures collected by the World Travel & Tourism Council.
He expressed hope that the figure would jump to 9 percent for the current Iranian calendar year (March 2016-March 2017).
“[The promotion of] tourism industry is the best choice to realize the goal of resistance economy and to get rid of the one-product economy,” he said.
Resistance economy, as outlined by the Supreme Leader, calls on the government to secure the utilization of the country’s resources, struggle to promote a knowledge-based economy, take efforts to increase energy consumption efficiency and boost domestic production.
In this line, the CHTHO is planning to construct a total of 300 four- and five-star hotels over the course of five years, he noted.
Soltanifar added that the private sector has already started building 170 of the mentioned hotels.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the official said that more than 1,750 tourism projects are currently underway in the country, requiring some $5 billion to be completed.
Vinci Construction from France, Daelim Hotel form South Korea, and Steigenberger Hotel Group from Germany are among the attendees to the two-day event that revolves around the motto of “100 Hotels, 100 Businesses,” ISNA reported on Friday.
Other corporations and holding companies are coming from the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Spain, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan.
Iran and the 5+1 group – the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia plus Germany – finalized the text of the JCPOA in Vienna in July 2015. The nuclear deal went into effect in January 2016.
In September, Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed, the deputy director of the CHTHO, said over 16 million foreign tourists have visited Iran over the past three and a half years, in that regard some $24 billion came into the country.