Shahr-e Kord, Chaharmahal Bakhtiari Prov, Oct 31, IRNA-Under a scheme to encourage more tourists to visit the country, an Iranian tourism official in this western province on Tuesday announced that visas may now be issued through the Internet starting Tuesday.
Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Deputy Mohammad-Sharif Malekzadeh told IRNA on the sidelines of a local gathering here that tourists from any country of the world may now apply for and receive visas to enter Iran via the Internet.
He said that the process of visa issuance will be carried out through an Internet site recently opened.
Malekzadeh said the scheme has been made possible through a clear order of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who last month invited foreigners to come and see Iran's nuclear sites.
Nuclear tours are now part of the country's tourist attraction program and foreign scientists, elites and intellectuals can visit these sites anywhere in the country anytime, said the official.
He added that various foreign groups, including a group of British tourists, have so far announced their desire to joint tours to Iran's nuclear facilities.
Malekzadeh said that the number of tourists visiting the country had remarkably increased in the first two quarters of the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2006) compared with the figure in the same period last year.
He further informed that the ICHHTO has decided to provide financial rewards to domestic travel agencies which attract the most number of foreign tourists, saying his organization would pay 10 US dollars for each Asian tourist and 20 US dollars for each tourist from Europe or the US brought into the country.
He moreover said that the organization has also decided to operate joint tourist companies with countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to promote regional tourism.
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