Tehran determined to boost tourism industry
Analysts believe the establishment of the new ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts in Iran's cabinet means that Tehran has dogged its resolve to boost tourism industry revenue.
Iran Press/Iran news: President Hassan Rouhani’s nominees for the Education Ministry and the newly-established Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts won a confidence vote in parliament (Majlis) on Monday.
Ali Asghar Mounesan who had been introduced as newly-established Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts minister won 163 to 290.
President Rouhani appointed Mounesan as Vice-President and Head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation of Iran in August 2017.
Many believe that establishing a new ministry for such an important issue i.e. tourism and cultural heritage indicates that Tehran is shifting to get enough from such an industry.
Easing Visa policy
Iran has recently been making efforts to attract more foreign visitors to the country by easying tourist entry. In a move in June, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani ordered authorities to dismantle requirements for mandatory stamping of passports for foreigners arriving in Iran.
The country has also approved to waive the visa requirement for visitors from several countries, including China (Hong Kong and the mainland), Qatar, and Azerbaijan.
Over 100 million Chinese tourists traveled abroad during 2017, with Japan, Hong Kong, the US, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, and France among their top destinations.
In this regard, it was announced on August 24 that a group of travel marketers and tour operators from southern China and Hong Kong will soon launch a one-week tour across Iran with the aim of acquainting with its tourist destinations.
Iran regards East Asia as a new market for flourishing its tourism industry under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, increasing its foreign arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million. The country is expected to attract one million Chinese in the near future through the visa waiver program for Chinese tourists.
Recently, Doha has also announced that Qatari nationals who are willing to visit Iran can obtain visas upon arrival in the country.
Earlier on Sunday, Mounesan said the number of foreign tourists who have visited Iran between March 21 and July 22 has increased by 40 percent in comparison to the same 4-month period in 2018.
According to Mounesan, a total of 7.8 million tourists visited Iran last year (March 2018-March 2019), much higher than the 4.7 million who traveled to the country a year earlier.
Mounesan said that such an upward trend in the tourism industry came after Iran diversified its travel and tourism services by supporting medical tourism, agritourism, and hiking tourism. 101/213/218