Main sources of tourism for Iran in 2021 were Iraq and Turkey

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


In 2021, Iraqi and Turkish tourists made up the majority of inbound tourists to Iran.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s most recent report, Iraq and Turkey were Iran’s primary sources of tourism in 2021.

According to the survey, travellers from Iraq and Turkey accounted for 34% and 15% of all inbound visitors, respectively. Pakistan (10%), Azerbaijan (9%), and Kuwait (2%), were the other main sources.

The remaining 29% was contributed by the rest of the globe.

Turkey was also the most popular tourist destination for Iranians, with 71 percent of outbound travellers from the Islamic Republic choosing it during the time period in question.

Other popular tourism destinations for Iranian tourists were Iraq (13%), the United Arab Emirates (6%), Syria (2%), and Armenia (2%).

Tourism Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami stated in August that Iran had 2.9 million foreign visitor arrivals in the previous 11 months.

According to the Tourism Minister, the rate of visitor arrivals is outpacing certain worldwide forecasts.

Designing an Iranophobia project and presenting a negative image of Iran in some media is one of the obstacles to attracting foreign tourists, Zarghami said.

“We have many relative advantages and facilities that none of the countries in the region have.”
Long avoided by Western tourists, the Islamic Republic has progressively increased efforts in recent years to exploit tourism to help boost its worldwide image, which has been battered by constant criticism, mostly from the United States.

Experts say that even before the epidemic, Iran’s tourism was facing certain difficulties, on top of Western “media propaganda” aimed at frightening potential visitors away from the Islamic Republic.

They claim that because of the “media war,” Iran is still “unknown” to many potential visitors.

Prior to the COVID outbreak, Iran’s tourism had been steadily increasing, with over eight million tourists in the Iranian calendar year 1398 (which began March 21, 2019).

However, Iran’s trump card is that it has a diverse range of tourism places, from sea-coasts and beautiful green woodlands to towering mountains and harsh deserts.

Iran has always been a sought-after destination for environment enthusiasts, birdwatchers, powder chasers, cultural devotees, pilgrims, museum-goers, foodies, explorers, and medical travellers, to mention a few.

Mass COVID vaccinations, consecutive fam tours for foreign tour operators, easing travel procedures, and new strategies all indicate that Iran is determined to experience a tourism rebound with a greater reliance on its numerous tourist spots, 26 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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