tourism in iran

Tourism attracted 2.3 million people to Iran in 2009.[2] The landscape of Iran is diverse and beautiful, providing a range of activities from hiking and skiing in the Alborz mountains, to beach holidays by thePersian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. Over the next five years a number of tourism-friendly infrastructure projects will be undertaken on the Persian Gulf island of Kish, which at present attracts around 1m visitors per year, the majority of whom are Iranian.[3] In general, Iranians are warm, friendly and generous individuals with a strong interest in foreigners and other cultures.[citation needed] Before the Iranian revolution and the subsequent Iran–Iraq War, tourism was characterized by significant numbers of visitors travelling to Iran for its diverse attractions, boasting cultural splendours and a diverse and beautiful landscape suitable for a range of activities.[3] Tourism declined dramatically during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s. Since the Iranian revolution in 1979, the majority of visitors to Iran have been religious pilgrims and businesspeople.[3] Official figures do not distinguish between those travelling to Iran for business and those coming for pleasure, and they also include a large number of diaspora Iranians returning to visit their families in Iran or making pilgrimages to holy Shia sites near Mashhad and elsewhere.[3] Despite the international tensions, the governmentcontinues to project strong rises in visitor numbers and tourism revenue over the forecast period, and to talk of projects to build an additional 100 hotels, for example, to expand its currently limited stock.[3] Contents [hide] • 1 Visitors o 1.1 Visa requirement • 2 Infrastructure and the economy o 2.1 Organization of Cultural Heritage and Tourism • 3 Outward tourism • 4 See also • 5 References • 6 Further reading • 7 External links Visitors See also: World Tourism rankings The most up-to-date figures from the World Tourism Organisation for the origin of visitors to Iran show that building up visitors from the Islamic and wider Asian world will have to start from a low base. Around three-quarters of those entering Iran in 1999 came from Europe. Of those, as might be expected, only a minority were from western European countries.[3] According to Iranian officials, in a change of trend, about 1,659,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004; most came from Asian countries, including the republics of Central Asia, while a small share (about 10%) came from North America and the European Union includingGermany, Italy, Bulgaria, France, Belgium.[3] The most popular tourist destinations are Esfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz. There is undoubtedly great scope for increased visitors from the Islamic world, and possibly also from non-Muslim countries with which Iran is developing business and political links, such as China and India.[3] The majority of the 300,000 tourist visas granted in 2003 were obtained by Asian Muslims, who presumably intended to visit importantpilgrimage sites in Mashhad and Qom. Several organized tours from Germany, France, UK and other European countries come to Iran annually to visit archaeological sites and monuments. From 2004, the country experienced a 100-percent growth in foreign tourist arrivals until mid-2008 when the number of foreign arrivals surged up to 2.5 million. Specially, there has been an enormous increase in the number of German tourists traveling to Iran in 2008.[4] The World Travel and Tourism Council claims that business and personal tourism rose by 11.3% and 4.6%, respectively, in real terms in 2007, with the growth in personal tourism only modestly below that of the preceding year.[3] About 2.3 million tourists have visited Iran in 2009 according to Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization. About 70,000 of the tourists were from Turkey, 3,000 from Germany, and 3,000 from China, with the rest being from other countries.[2] Demand and supply (Source: EIU)[3] 2004 2005 2006 est. International tourism, arrivals ('000) 1,656 1,720 1,769 International tourism, receipts (US$ m) 917 971 1,022 Visa requirement In general, Iran has tried to improve its complex and time-consuming visa application process and has begun to issue week-long visas for the nationals of 68 countries at airports. An online hotel reservation system has been developed. Iran will equip all airports with electronic visa facilities by February 2009 to issue online entry permits to foreign nationals.[5] Iran has 15 road border crossings connecting it with Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Rail lines from Turkey and Turkmenistan can also be used to enter Iran.[3] About 70% of visitors arrived by land in 2002, about 29% by air and less than 1% by sea.[3] The price of internal flights is heavily subsidised, deterring competition and hampering profitability. In April 2005 the Imam Khomeini International Airport was reopened under the management of a consortium of four local airlines—Mahan Air, Aseman, Caspian Air and Kish Air—although no formal contract appeared to have been awarded.[3] Infrastructure and the economy See also: Economy of Iran, Transport in Iran, and Communications in Iran In the early 2000s the industry still faced serious limitations in infrastructure, communications, regulatory norms, and personneltraining.[6] In late 2003 there were about 640 hotels in Iran and around 63,000 beds.[3] Officials state that Iran has in recent years earned about US$1bn a year from tourism.[3] Iran currently ranks 68th in tourism revenues worldwide. Iran with attractive natural and historical sites is rated among the 10 most "touristic countries" in the world.[1] Close to 1.8% of national employment is generated in the tourism sector which is slated to increase to 10% in the next five years.[1] Weak advertising, unstable regional conditions, a poor public image in some parts of the world, and absence of efficient planning schemes in the tourism sector have all hindered the growth of tourism.[3] Iran's '20-Year Vision' document projects investment of over $32 billion in the country's tourism sector.[7] In order to encourage domestic and foreign direct investment in this sector, the 50 per cent tax exemption previously granted to tourism enterprises has been extended to include five-star hotels.[8] Organization of Cultural Heritage and Tourism See also: Foreign Direct Investment in Iran and Labor and tax laws in Iran This organization is responsible for the establishment, development and operation of tourism facilities in Iran, planning for the repair or extension of tourism facilities through direct investment or providing loans to the private sector or entering into partnership with the private sector, issuing licenses and supervising the establishment and administration of hotels and restaurants and travel agencies and qualification and rating of these units. Outward tourism See also: Demography of Iran, Iranian citizens abroad, Visa requirements for Iranian citizens, and Iranian Rial#Value Demand and supply (Source: EIU)[3] 2004 2005 2006 est. International tourism, departures ('000) 3,478 3,648 3,986 International tourism, expenditure (US$ m) 4,353 1,380 1,579 Traditionally, only a small number of wealthy Iranian tourists travelled abroad, and the majority of the trips were business departures, mostly to neighbouring states in the Persian Gulf and the wider Middle East (1 mil. each year), Central Asia and Turkey (~1 mil.). Although this is likely to continue to characterise much Iranian travel abroad, since the change of regime in Iraq in 2003, Iranians from all walks of life have visited their western neighbour. In addition, a large proportion of Iranians travelling abroad are likely to be visiting family, especially in Europe, the USand Australia (~1 mil.).[3] From: wikipedia

Send date: 1389/6/1
Visit count: 1603