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Number of tourists visiting Iran declines

The number of tourists visiting Iran has declined by 9.5 percent in the current Iranian year (started March 21) compared to the same period last year, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The Customs Organization reported that 1.352 million have arrived in the country, "of whom 812,500 were Iranians and the rest foreign nationals."

It said the number of Iranian and foreign nationals visiting the country have declined by 7.6 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively compared to the previous year.

In the same period 1.096 million have left the country which is 21.1 percent less than the same period in the preceding year.

Of the sum 743,000 were Iranians and 353,000 foreign nationals, the Customs report added.

Iran has been giving greater attention to its tourism sector considering the sector's potential for boosting employment and increasing foreign exchange earnings as a long-term alternative to oil income.

A Majlis deputy from Chaharmahal Bakhtiari, Ali Qanbari, here last week said that more attention should be paid to the tourist industry since studies show that each single tourist visiting the country creates three jobs.

Speaking to IRNA, he said Iran has the potential to attract one million tourists per year, its tourism industry should also be in a position to create three million jobs.

Turning to the comparatively poor tourism facilities for foreign tourists visiting the country, he pointed to the need to implement political, social, cultural and economic changes in the national infrastructure particularly in terms of ensuring their safety and thereby attracting greater numbers to visit the country.

... Payvand News - 8/17/03 ... --

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