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Iran hosts first International Travel and Hospitality Conference as government seeks to boost investment in infrastructure for tourism
February 26, 2016 Conferences No Comments Print Print Email Email
More than 200 Iranian government officials gathered in Isfahan between 20-22 February for the country’s first international conference aiming at public-private exchange to boost investment in transport and hospitality to satisfy an expected massive rise in tourism over the coming years.

“As Iran seeks to lower its economic dependence on oil, exploiting the incredible potential of tourism becomes a must,” said Ahmad Reza Nikkar Esfahani, CEO of Atiyeh Saba Investment Company, a subsidiary of the Civil Servants Pension Fund (CSPF), organizer of the conference. “This conference is a new chapter in training and upgrading the tourism, transportation and hospitality industries,” he added.

Atiyeh Saba owns the third largest Iranian airline, Iran Aseman Airlines and, among other business interests, has a controlling stake in the country’s largest hotel chain as well as the National Iranian Tanker Company, one of the largest petroleum companies in the world.
Deals announced at the conference included a memorandum of understanding between the renowned Swiss hospitality school Ecole hotelière de Lausanne and Atiyeh Saba to open a campus affiliated to the famous Swiss school in Isfahan.

Mahmoud Eslamiyan, Managing Director of the CSPF said that: “Opening what we aim to be a center of excellence demonstrates our commitment to provide a first-class academic education and open a new chapter in the hospitality industry not only in Iran but also in the region.”

Rotana Hotel group’s President Omer Z. Kaddouri presented further development plans in Iran. The UAE-based company is set to open four hotels in Iran within next two years.

Opportunities to develop sustainable inner-city and outer-city transports were also discussed at the conference, including plans for hybrid car systems. Isfahan’s Governor General Rasoul Zargarpour noted that an anticipated high-speed rail link between Tehran and Isfahan would cut travel time between the cities to less than two hours.

With the thaw in relations, the number of European tourists to Iran increased 240 percent in 2015 and with the country’s inclusion on recent “must visit” shortlists (coming in 16th on the CNN’s top tourism destinations for 2016 for instance) the trend is set to continue. Host to 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Iran aims to quadruple the number of foreign tourists visiting the country to 20 million a year by 2025, bringing the value of the industry to £21 billion. For this though, significant investments are needed in infrastructure, notably hotels and transport. Currently, Iran has only 1100 hotels and guest houses – of which 130 are 4 or 5 star hotels. Iran seeks to increase the number of four and five star hotels from 130 to 400 in 10 years, and has announced plans to build 7 new international airports over the next decade.

Over the last month, Iran has signed major deals for foreign investment in hotels, airports, aircraft and rail – notably with companies in France, Italy and China. The government has also unveiled an internal investment package of 1300 projects and low-interest loans to finance the building of hotels.



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 Iran will grant a new tax-exemption incentive to the newly-constructed hotels and tourism centers in the country since the beginning of the next Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2016), said Seyed Kamel Taqavinejad, the head of Iranian Tax Administration.


According to Taqavinejad the new hotels and tourism centers will receive income tax exemption for a course of five years, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported.


The incentive will be granted for a duration of ten years to those hotels and tourism centers which will be built in the less developed regions, the official noted.



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Indications are growing that Iran will soon witness a surge in visits by foreign tourists (Bloomberg). 

Attractions of Iran’s tourism industry are drawing a stronger attention now that the country has opened its doors in light of the removal of economic sanctions last month.

Iran is making a fresh pitch for tourists with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to cash in, AFP wrote in a report on Thursday.

Tourists, and the healthy revenues they could generate, are among the huge economic changes stemming from the nuclear deal.

Ski resorts, UNESCO-listed world heritage sites and deserts combine with cities steeped in Middle Eastern grandeur and tradition, adds the report.

A tourism push was launched after President Hassan Rouhani came to power in 2013.

Iranian officials have already said that about five million foreign travelers visited Iran in 2014, and that the country aims to attract 20 million tourists, spending $30 billion, by 2025.

Entry procedures have been simplified, meaning visitors from only 11 countries are not eligible for a visa on arrival.

The United States, Britain, Canada and France top the exclusion list but some people will not be put off by the restrictions.

The New York Times earlier this week reported that there has been a surge in bookings for Iran trips by American tourists.

Tour operators say the demand has been so acute that they are racing to add new departures and selling them in record time, it reported.

- Skiing and ancient cities -

Iran hosts some of the world’s oldest cultural monuments, including 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and its varied terrain ranges from desert locales to ski resorts.

A tourism adventure to Iran could all start right in capital Tehran and with skiing if you are visiting the country during winters. The city’s Tochal ski resort is one of several close to the capital.

Skiers sit on a ski lift over the Darbandsar ski resort, 60 kms northeast of Tehran in February 2015. (AFP)
Darbandsar ski resort, northeast of Tehran. (AFP)
Most tourists will then make trips to Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd, cities which are internationally known to be much more beautiful and relaxed than Tehran, AFP’s report added.

Among the popular sites in Isfahan is Imam Square, second in size only to Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but with water fountains and impressive architecture the Iranian site is much more attractive.

For Rouhani, tourism offers a way to offset falling oil prices that have slashed government income. It comes as tourists shun many parts of the Middle East because of war and a recent wave of terrorist attacks in countries including Egypt and Tunisia, the report added.

Chinese tourists visiting the
Chinese tourists visiting the "Gate of All Nations" at Persepolis near Shiraz. (AFP)
International credit and debit cards still do not work in Iran, but arriving with foreign currency and converting it into a large bundle of local rial notes does not seem a handicap.

There have been 4.16 million visitors in the first nine months of the Iranian year, which started in March 2015, up five percent from a year earlier, according to the tourism ministry.

Two thirds of them come from neighboring countries, such as Iraq, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Afghanistan or Pakistan, and are predominantly religious pilgrims visiting the holy Shia cities of Mashhad, northeast of Tehran, and Qom, south of the capital.

French or English speaking guides are booked up to the end of 2017 and the four or five star hotels in Isfahan, Shiraz and Yazd are sold out months in advance, AFP added.




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کتاب عملیات بانکی در عرصه بین الملل -سرفصل ها،ضمائم ،توصیه صاحب‏نظران ارزی و مدیران ارشد بانکی

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