Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi, at the 17th Iran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition, underlined the potential of tourism to drive economic growth and steer the nation away from an oil-centric economy. He accentuated Iran’s vast cultural wealth, ancient civilization, and diverse climatic conditions as unique tourism assets.
A Vision Beyond Oil: Economic Diversification Through Tourism
In a compelling speech at the 17th Iran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran articulated a vision for the nation’s future that transcends oil. He identified tourism as a pivotal force for economic diversification and growth, emphasizing the need to leverage Iran’s rich cultural heritage, age-old civilization, and varied climatic conditions.
Raisi acknowledged the challenges posed by the country’s current mono-product economy, which heavily relies on oil income. He highlighted the strategic importance of tourism in shifting this paradigm and fostering a more sustainable and resilient economic landscape.
Combatting Iranophobia: Encouraging International Tourism
The president addressed the issue of Iranophobia, which he attributed to enemy efforts to deter tourists from visiting Iran. In response, Raisi emphasized the administration’s responsibility to facilitate the presence of foreign tourists in the country. This includes initiatives to improve infrastructure, enhance services, and ultimately meet international standards.
Raisi announced the abolition of visa requirements for many countries as part of this strategic approach. The move aims to make Iran a more accessible destination and encourage a broader range of travelers to explore the nation’s rich cultural and natural offerings.
Unprecedented Growth: Iran’s Tourism Industry in 2023
According to data from the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations, more than five million foreign tourists visited Iran in the first 11 months of 2023. This figure marks a remarkable 42 percent increase compared to the same period in 2022, signaling the burgeoning potential of the nation’s tourism industry.
Building on this momentum, the Iranian Tourism Organization has set an ambitious goal: to increase the annual number of tourists from 7.8 million in 2019 to 20 million by 2025. While this target presents a significant challenge, the recent growth trajectory suggests that it may well be within reach.
As Iran continues to embrace tourism as a catalyst for economic growth and a means to diversify its economy, the sector’s potential to transform the nation’s global image and foster cultural exchange becomes increasingly evident. By leveraging its unique assets and addressing the challenges posed by Iranophobia, the country is poised to make a significant impact on the international tourism landscape.
In this context, the 17th Iran International Tourism and Related Industries Exhibition serves as more than a showcase of the nation’s tourism potential; it stands as a testament to Iran’s commitment to economic diversification, cultural exchange, and global engagement.