Iran prepares for 'tsunami' of tourists

Iran prepares for 'tsunami' of tourists
Iran has eased visa restrictions for nationals from 38 countries as the country preparers for a "tsunami" of foreign tourists as sanctions on Tehran begin to be lifted.
2 min read
22 October, 2015
Iran is home to 19 UNESCO sites [Getty]
Iran has extended visas on arrival to 38 countries, mostly benefitting tourists from Europe.

The Persian language newspaper Donya-ya Eqtesad said that this follows a plan from two months ago.

Foreign tourists were previously limited to 14-day stays without extension.

Citizens from Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico can also apply for 30-day visas upon arrival in Iran.

Iran's vice president told The Associated Press on Sunday his country is preparing for a "tsunami" of foreign tourists as Iran and world powers are set to begin implementing a landmark nuclear deal that will lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear programme.   
     Iran is home to 19 UNESCO-registered sites.

Masoud Soltanifar, who is also Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization chief, said President Hassan Rouhani's moderate policies and the easing of visa rules are opening the door for the return of foreign tourists to Iran.     

A country rich in historical and cultural treasures, Iran will unveil an investment package of 1,300 projects in the coming days to attract foreign investment and boost the badly-hit tourism industry.

Iran is home to 19 UNESCO-registered sites.  

Even before sanctions are lifted, the number of foreigners visiting Iran has grown 12 percent in each of the past two years. In 2014, Iran hosted over 5 million tourists, bringing in some $7.5 billion in revenue.  

About half were Shia Muslims, the same religious denomination as most Iranians, and the other half were tourists from Europe, North America and east Asia. 

In the post-sanctions era, tourism is an industry that will get a boost more than any other sector," Soltanifar told the AP. "Tourism is certainly the driving engine to get Iran's economy out of recession. Iran's tourism sector is a flourishing market for investors. We are anticipating a tsunami of tourists after sanctions are lifted."