The number of tourists visiting Iran from the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21) so far has been increased by three times compared to same period last year.

Iran’s First Vice President, Ishaq Jahangiri, said that absorbing foreign tourists play an import role in boosting the country’s economy, Iran’s IRNA News Agency reported on Aug. 25.

“The government will allocate special facilities to investors active in the tourism industry,” he explained. It was previously reported that the number of European tourists visiting Iran increased by 240 percent in the first 45 days of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 — May 5).

Masoud Soltanifar, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO), said that Iran’s share out of the world’s total $1.25 trillion tourism industry is very little.

“It is while Iran is among world’s top ten countries in terms of tourist attractions,” he said.

He went on to note that Iran is world’s 17th country in terms of safety. It is said that annually 4 million foreigners travel to Iran, but Soltanifar explained that only about one million people spend considerable money in Iran and can be considered as tourist.

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

“Iran needs to improve its infrastructure and transportation system to absorb more tourists,” he added.

Iran’s tourism industry is booming, with more foreign travelers visiting the country than ever before. So much so that Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani is hoping to attract 10 million international tourists each year.

Darvish Amiri, an official with Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, said on Feb. 21 that some four million foreign tourists traveled to Iran in 2013, IRIB reported.

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

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

Photo Credit: Fin Garden, located in Kashan, Iran, is a historical Persian garden that is popular with local and foreign visitors. Tilo Driessen / Flickr