Iran revels in tourism surge

Published on : Wednesday, September 6, 2017

IranAccording to official data the year ending March 2017 recorded 6 million people visiting Iran which was 50% more than the previous year.

 

The data was three times the number in 2009. Earlier it was off limits due to international sanctions but has now made a comeback as a tourist destination.

 

The 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers had many sanctions being lifted early the following year resulting a surge in visitors.

 

The direct flights to the country via European airlines such as British Airways and Lufthansa resumed.

 

The Iranian authorities had relaxed visa requirements. More people arrive and the demand for accommodation is skyrocketing creating better opportunities for local entrepreneurs and foreign businesses.

 

International hotel chains are fast growing unlike the western firms who are unwilling to invest in Iran due to the fear of the President Trump attacking the nuclear deal.

 

 

France’s Accor opened in 2015 was the first chain and now operates two hotels there. Spain’s Melia will have its first hotel next year.

 

Rotana of the United Arab Emirates has one hotel in the pipeline by next year and will set up three more by 2020.

 

 

EasyHotel, a U.K. based budget chain and many more players will enter the market soon. As per the state tourism agency Iran wants to bring in more than 20 million visitors by 2025.

 

The visitors are basically backpackers from Europe and Asia lured by Iran’s history and culture. Esfahan and Shiraz are the most popular destinations also being a home to Persepolis, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

 

A hotelier mentioned that the past few years saw a surge in the number of tourists visiting Iran, they are curious adventurous people who want to discover more about Iran and prefer staying mostly at hotels.

 

Iran was named as the world’s cheapest travel destination by the World Economic Forum report.

 

Americans, Brits and Canadians still faced obstacles and had to apply for visa in advance while citizens of many other western countries can avail it on arrival.

 

The country offers only a few links to international banking networks and Western credit cards do not work as sanctions remain in some places.

 

However, Rashedi launched a website to make payments that allowed travellers to make reservation at hotels and those operated by others without payment.

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