Kuwait City, April 27, IRNA-A report by the International Exhibition on Touring and Tourism underway in Kuwait said here Wednesday that Iran ranked fourth among the destination of Kuwaiti tourists in 2004.
Iran, which attracted 60,000 Kuwaiti tourists, was preceded by Syria, Lebanon and Egypt among the Islamic countries, it added.
Iran's Economic Attache in Kuwait Majid Soleymani told IRNA that Iran has outlined new provisions for drawing tourists to the country 'specially from Persian Gulf littoral states'.
He also predicted that the number of Kuwaiti tourists will significantly increase in the coming years.
In the past six month Iran and Kuwait have signed agreements that will greatly increase bilateral trade and number of tourists visiting the two neighboring states, he added.
Iran has embarked on a wide-ranging program to attract tourists to the country.
It will invest US dlrs 30 billion in its tourism infrastructure over a five-year period as part of its 'master plan' efforts to have a 20-percent share of world tourism by 2024.
For the first five years of the plan which will go into effect in 2007, Iran will invest 30 billion dollars in its tourism sector.
The goal of the master plan is to host 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2024.
In addition to cordial political ties, the two nations are striving to improve their trade and economic exchange.
Iranian commerce minister, held a meeting in February with Iranian and Kuwaiti entrepreneurs and traders and responded to their questions on investment and trade in Iran.
Mohammad Shariatmadari expounded on Iran's government measures implemented to expand foreign investments and international trade with the countries and touched on policies which have been enacted to draw foreign investments to the country.
He further brushed aside concerns expressed by Kuwaiti investors on the business taxes in Iran saying that the tax rate pertaining to foreign capital is the same as for domestic investors.
He added that to facilitate business transactions and building investor confidence several Iranian banks had asked the Kuwait government for authorization to open branches in the country.
"The Kuwait government had earlier refused, but apparently in a change of heart has recently permitted reputable international banks to operate in the country and they have informed us that they have also authorized Iran's Tejarat (commerce) Bank to open a branch in Kuwait," Shariatmadari added.
In the first meeting of the Iran-Kuwait Trade Cooperation Commission at the ministerial level, Iran's Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abd al-Rahman al-Tawil put into discussion ways of expanding economic and trade cooperation.
At the meeting, the two sides underlined the need for developing cooperation in fields of transportation and banking as well as creating grounds for Kuwait to look to Central Asian states for trade transactions.
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