Iran to Boost Tourism by Lifting Visa Requirement
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian government is studying a plan to lift visa requirements on nationals of certain countries as part of a broader plan to attract foreign tourists.
Head of the country’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (CHTO) Mohammad Ali Najafi who announced the news at a press conference on Sunday said China is currently the largest target market for the Iranian tourism industry.
“We define new target markets...for instance, last year China sent 100 million tourists to other countries which makes it the largest target market. If we attract half a percent of the Chinese outbound tourists, that amounts to 500 thousand tourists in a year," explained Najafi.
According to the CHTO head, factors such as the number of outbound tourists of a country as well as the economic status of such markets are important in determining the target markets of Iran's tourism industry.
He said, “We are interested in attracting tourists who could give a boost to our economy, not those who would come to Iran seeking temporary jobs and leave after three months.”
The figures from the UN World Tourism Organisation show the Chinese became the single biggest source of global tourism income after spending $102 billion while traveling abroad in 2012.
The total is 40% higher than the year before, and puts them well above the next two highest-spending countries, Germany and the US.