Iran gained $3-4 billion from incoming tourists but Iranian tourists spent about $8-10 billion while travelling to other countries, during the past Iranian fiscal year.

The director of Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism organization, Masoud Soltanifar, said that in Iranian year 1391 (March 2012-March 2013) just one million foreign tourists visited Iran, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported on April 11.

Soltanifar added that 7.7 million Iranian travelled to other countries during March 2012-March 2013.

“Based on national development plans, Iran should attract some 20 million foreign tourists in 2025. It can be claimed that no significant progress has taken place in the country’s tourism sector during the past eight years,” he admitted.

In February, Darvish Amiri, an official at Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism organization, said some four million foreign tourists travelled to Iran in 2013.

He added that the figure was very small compared to a total 1.15 billion tourists travelling around the world in 2013.

Iran currently attracts predominantly medical and religious tourists, although this is all expected to change as Iran develops new relationships with foreign nations.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is hoping to attract 10 million international tourists each year.

(c)2014 Trend News Agency (Baku, Azerbaijan). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Photo Credit: Tourists walk around the ancient city of Persepolis. Matt Werner / Flickr