Source: Tehran Times
TEHRAN - The European Union commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship said on Tuesday that Iran is being turned into a major tourism destination for European travelers. Although some sticking points, such as investment problems, still remain with the EU side, but "The EU in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and other global establishments tries to overcome the barriers," said Elzbieta Bienkowska, in a meeting with Masoud Soltanifar who presides over the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicraft Organization of Iran.
Masoud Soltanifar (L) presenting a gift to Elzbieta Bienkowska in Tehran on October 18, 2016
Soltanifar, for his part, underscored the importance of enhancing bilateral cooperation while putting forward working out on a memorandum of understanding in tourism grounds, a proposal that was warmly welcomed by Bienkowska as well.
"Time is ripe for European investors and companies who are willing to enter Iranian market," Soltanifar remarked, calling Iran a "countrywide museum", which boasts numerous historic places, scenic yet very diverse natural beauties with a history that stretches 10,000 years back in time.
Bienkowska referred to the measures taken by Iran regarding visa issuance as 'very effective and important'.
In July, Iran increased its visa on arrival extension from 1 month to 3 months.
For the time being, citizens of 190 countries can obtain visa on arrival at the country's airports with one-month validation.
The EU official also separately met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the same day during which she attached great importance to deepen collaboration in tourism sector, adding that the EU seeks to establish long-term cooperation with Iran in various spheres.
The Iranian officials turned the spotlight on capacities that lie beyond Iranian and EU's private and public sectors, meanwhile they stressed the need to seize the opportunity created with the implementation of the JCPOA.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Iran has been more than double that of the global average since the implementation of the JCPOA, Soltanifar announced earlier this month.
In a recent move, Iran has also offered to grant years of tax exemption to both domestic and foreign businesses and individuals as an incentive for ramping up investments in its tourism sector.
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