Recent editions of many international tourism journals, including National Geographic, have referred to Iran as a top emerging tourism destination, which can contribute to rise in the number of foreign tourist arrivals to the country, said Morteza Rahmani Movahed, the deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.
“We have reached an overall consensus that expansion of tourism is vital for Iran to expedite sustainable development and increase employment,” said Rahmani Movahed at a groundbreaking ceremony for the largest tourism and recreational complex of Sirjan, in Kerman Province.
According to Tehran-based English newspaper, Iran Daily, the official said tourism industry would provide Iran with sustainable earnings.
“Tourism industry generates nine percent of global GDP whereas in Iran, tourism is responsible for 6.5 percent of the GDP,” he noted.
Rahmani Movahed said Iran has made ceaseless efforts to promote tourism following the agreement with P5+1 on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Noting that Sixth Development Plan (2016-2021) has placed great importance on expansion of tourism, Rahmani Movahed said Iran is to host the 2017 World Federation of Tourist Guide Association in line with the development of the tourism industry.
The official described southern Kerman Province as one of the most attractive provinces in Iran, whose three historical sites namely Bam Citadel, Shahzadeh Garden, and Pre-historical Meymand Village, have been registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
“Cisterns of Kerman and Lut Desert, known as ‘Kavir-e Lut’, will soon be registered on the World Heritage List,” he said, explaining that Kavir-e Lut is Iran’s first natural attraction up for global registration.
The official said the number of foreign visitors to Kerman Province has witnessed a growth of between 30 and 35 percent over the past two years.
“Kerman has an important role in the growth of tourism industry,” he said.