MEHR: A deputy head of the Iranian tourism ministry (MCTH) says Iran’s annual tourism revenues have reached $6.2 billion, adding that tourism is becoming a major source of earning hard currency for the country.
Citing figures from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) on Thursday, Ali Asghar Shalbafian did not elaborate if the annual revenue figure was related to 2022 or to the calendar year to late March 2023.
Speaking at a ceremony in the tourist hub of Tabriz in northwest Iran, Shalbafian said tourism revenues had reached levels to equal more than 10% of Iran’s annual non-oil export revenues.
He said, however, that Iran had invested some 3,650 trillion rials ($7.3 billion) in recent years to boost its tourism infrastructure, adding that some 360 trillion rials had been spent in Tabriz and cities around it which are normally frequented by tourists from the Republic of Azerbaijan and countries in the Caucasus region.
MCTH figures show tourists arrivals to Iran reached a record of 4.230 million in the six months to September 2022 when a spell of unrest in the country caused a drop in the number of arrivals.
Tourism activity rebounded in Iran in the quarter to late June as the country received 1.4 million foreign visitors over the period, according to the MCTH.
Tourism has become a focus of Iran’s efforts to diversify its economy away from crude revenues in recent years.
The policy is meant to offset the impacts of US sanctions on the Iranian oil sector while it is also aimed at creating more jobs for the country’s youth.
Recent reports show that the Iranian government is seeking to expand its visa waiver program to cover visitors from more than 60 new countries.