TEHRAN – Iran’s tourism is on the way to turn into an industry, the deputy director for development affairs of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organization (CHTHO) told a press conference on Sunday.
“As an industry, tourism should be profitable to attract investors of private sector,” Saeid Shirkavand said. Shirkavand said that the CHTHO has begun some negotiations with the Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines to encourage financiers in tourism industry.
He called “trust” and “economic security” as two important factors in attracting investors. “Over the past two years, Iran has been trying its best to build trust with foreign investors,” he added. Now Iran is on the priority list for some foreign hoteliers and investors, he announced. “We improve infrastructure and pave the way for participation of private sector investors in tourism section.”
He also explained about renovation of historical edifices for housing tourists. “The five-star hotel is not demand of many foreign tourists. They prefer camping, rural and historical residences over hotels.”
During the conference, CHTHO Deputy Director for Tourism Morteza Rahmani-Movahed explained about target markets recognized by Iran’s tourism organization.
“Iran has set 40 target markets to boost tourism industry and they are categorized in three groups,” he said without giving details. Pointing to the role of the CHTHO in sustainable tourism, he said creating culture for receiving tourists and holding some educational courses for children in schools on the principle of tourism are amongst the plans. He pointed to the tour guides as important factors in sustainable tourism, who can create good time for tourists during their sojourn in Iran.
“Iranians are well-known for their culture of hospitality, which is important in boosting sustainable tourism,” he said. According to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015 conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Iran is the most affordable country for tourists amongst the 141 countries.
Price Competitiveness in the Tourism and Travel Industry is the lower costs related to travel in a country increase its attractiveness for many travelers as well as for investing in the T&T sector.
Iran made it onto the top destination lists of major publications such as The Financial Times and The Guardian last year thanks to sights that include 2,500-year old ruins at Persepolis near Shiraz and 16th-century Islamic architectural gems in Isfahan.
Iran is home to some of the world’s most magnificent historical and archaeological sites. Relics of a proud ancient civilization include: Persepolis, the capital of the largest empire that the world has ever seen; the city of Isfahan; Shiraz, the city of love and poetry; and Hamadan, where Avicenna, the father of early modern medicine, is buried.
UNESCO has declared 17 world heritage sites in Iran, which was historically referred to as Persia in the west until the 20th century.