Iran seeks to attract more tourists from China
Home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilizations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC, Iran seeks to attract more foreign travelers, and in particular, vacationers from China.
Iran’s deputy tourism minister on Wednesday stressed the need for all-inclusive fault detection, and identification of effective factors to expand tourism ties with China in a meeting with travel experts from the state-run institutes and the private sector. “We should pay attention to the Chinese market in a more pragmatic approach,” Ali-Asghar Shalbafian said in the follow-up session held to formulate new strategies to expand tourism cooperation between the two ancient countries. “So far, steps have been taken to examine the Chinese tourism market, but today the (essential) need is to implement executive measures based on [our] fault detection and macro planning,” the official noted. Insignificant numbers of Chinese restaurants, Chinese-language guides, or even inappropriate lodging facilities are deemed to be among the main reasons why Chinese arrivals in Iran fall short of expectations. Some experts believe that part of this failure comes from inside Iran because Chinese restaurants are scanty across the country while the cuisine is of high importance for the majority of the Chinese people. Moreover, Chinese travelers need fluent Chinese-language tour guides whose numbers are limited in the Islamic Republic. Last year, Tehran’s ex-ambassador to Beijing said Iran was seeking to become a tourist destination for millions of potential travelers from China as the two countries are working on a 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan that includes boosting relations in the field of tourism. Speaking in the TV program, Mehdi Safari reminded some 200 million Chinese tourists to visit different countries annually, adding “according to this agreement Iran will become one of the tourist destinations for Chinese travelers so that Iran can attract one to two million Chinese tourists to the country.” “This will create a transformation in Iran’s tourism industry and will create jobs and a large market for the handicrafts industry of the country,” he expanded. In 2019, the Islamic Republic waived the visa requirement for Chinese nationals willing to visit the country. The decision was made to attract more foreign tourists to the country; however, it was a unilateral measure, because Iranian tourists visiting China still need visas. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran is expecting to increase the number of tourism arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million by 2025.