Source: Iran Daily
Iran's huge investment in security has borne fruit which include drawing foreign investment and tourists, said President Hassan Rouhani. Speaking at a ceremony to mark World Tourism Day (Sept. 27), he said, "Today, even the governments which used to issue warnings to their citizens against traveling to Iran, now acknowledge that Iran is a secure tourist destination."
President Rouhani further said Iran's foreign policy and cooperation with other nations form the fundamental bases for attracting tourists.
The president termed thwarting Iranophobia as one of major impacts of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the landmark nuclear deal reached between Iran and the world six major powers in July 2015.
Rouhani said the political situation is ripe for drawing more tourists.
One of major policies of the Islamic Republic is to have effective interaction with the world, he added.
He said, "The tourism industry can be an important way to generate jobs for the youth. One of our main goals is to generate jobs, promote technology and draw investment."
Also speaking on the occasion, Head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Masoud Soltanifar said the tourism sector, which has 1,750 projects worth 400 trillion rials ($13.3 billion) at hand, is the driving force of the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2016-2021).
He added that in view of its high potentials, the tourism industry plays a major role in the country's economic development.
He revealed that ICHHTO intends to generate 140,000 jobs in the handicrafts sector within two years.
Soltanifar hoped that the number of foreign tourists would reach 20 million by 2025 from current figure of 5.2 million.
He said. "Today, 820 one- to five-star hotels are under construction nationwide, of which 170 have been undertaken by the private sector.
"Following the JCPOA deal, we have held talks with 20 foreign investors and inked agreements with investors from Turkey and Germany to construct 25 five-star hotels within five years."
The ICHHTO chairman continued that the airport visa scheme has been extended for nationals of 190 countries, adding electronic visa would be issued as of mid-March 2017.
Also, the deputy head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization said the fact that some 1,600 are underway projects across the country is a proof to Iran's emergence as a major player in world's tourism business.
Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed added that 820 projects pertain to one- to five-star hotels and hotel-apartments, and the rest include tourist complexes, rest and recreation sites, ecotourism resorts and medical centers.
He described tourism as the country's most competitive industry.
Head of Iran Hotel Management Society Jamshid Hamzeh-zadeh said all hotels are offering 10-50 percent discount during Tourism Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 3).
Also, a website themed 'www.iranplanner.com', designed by a number of tour leaders, was expected to be unveiled on World Tourism Day. It introduces Iran's tourist routes and online planning for traveling.
Mahsa Motahhar, a member of board of directors of Iranplanner, said, "Following numerous trips and acquaintance with friends skilled in information technology, we launched the website in which traveling information is easily accessible to the public.
"We have taken advantage of the experiences from individual or group trips. We know that when a person travels with his/her family, how he/she can visit the sightseeing sites and how long he/she should take into account for rest.
"We have so far drawn up 200 travel plans for top destinations. We intend to increase them to 1,000. One can choose the origin on this website and even select the destination in accordance with the number of days set aside for traveling."
She continued, "We have covered all provincial centers on this website. All the cities en route have been introduced."
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