The top official in Iran’s tourism sector has said that the country welcomed record number of tourists in the last Iranian calendar year which ended in March.

Ali Asghar Mounessan, who heads the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization of Iran (ICHTO), said that tourism in Iran has been experiencing a boom despite tough sanctions imposed on the country by the hostile US regime. 

Mounessan told the official IRNA agency that the number of foreign tourists visiting Iran in the 12-month period ending in March 2019 had topped 7.8 million, an increase of 52% compared to the previous year.

He said tourism was now accounting for around 3% of Iran’s gross domestic product (GDP) with an annual turnover of around $8.11 billion.

The ICHTO head said Iran hopes to increase its tourism revenues to $24 billion to cover around 6% of the country’s GDP by 2021.

Mounessan said Iran needed some $23 billion worth of investment in its tourism sector to meet the planned targets.

Iran is currently executing various tourism projects across the country worth of $13 billion, adding that more work needed to be done in areas like ecotourism and development of the the industry in the countryside and rural regions.

Iran has sought to use the sanctions as an opportunity for sectors like tourism as they could ease government’s access to foreign currencies through attracting more foreigners to the country.

PressTV / ABC Flash Point News 2019.

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