How do you evaluate the status of World Tourism in 2016?
In recent years, the tourism industry has found a special place and has attracted the attention of many countries, in other words, most countries in the world accept the importance of this industry and try to develop this industry by enjoying their various advantages including climate, history, and civilization advantages as well as planning at the macro level.
According to the statistics released by the World Tourism Organization, this industry has experienced a growth of 5.2 in the first six months of this year and it shows an upward trend compared to the global average growth of 4.4 in the last year.
Although we were faced with reduced growth of international tourism following the global financial crisis in 2008, but, in the past years, tourism industry has pursued a growing trend.
The number of one billion and 200 million international tourists were recorded in 2015 which saw an increase of 50 million people tourists compared to the year 2014 and it is expected that this figure will be doubled by 2030.
Geographically, the Asia-Pacific region has shown relatively good growth in tourism in the first half of 2016, such that incoming international flights of these regions has increased by 9 percent, which is the highest global growth rate of tourism industry.
We should also be aware of this fact that the world takes advantage of tourism industry to cause an inflow of foreign funds, in other words, more than a hundred countries around the world provide their first to third foreign fund inflow from tourism.
Tourism industry also plays a significant role in the field of job creation and it creates employment much cheaply than other industries. In other words, this industry provides 10 percent of the worldwide employment and a large number of jobs is created directly and indirectly with the entry of international tourists. Statistics published this year also suggests a significant influence of tourism industry on increasing employment in the world.
What is your prediction of the status of tourism in the coming years?
According to the predictions made by the Tourism Bureau, the tourism industry will have at least 10 to 12 percent growth in next year considering the increasing tendency of nations to be familiar with tourist attractions and potentials of different regions of the world.
The industry will also experience a very significant growth in the coming years such that it will rise from one billion and 200 million international tourists in 2015 to two billion and 500 million people in 2030, suggesting an increase of twice as much.
What is your assessment regarding the status of the tourism industry in Iran as well as, in your perspective, what changes have been created in this industry following the lifting of sanctions and the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?
Iran is among the countries of the world that has devoted special attention to travel and tourism industry. The country experienced a 12 percent growth in last year with more than six million tourists entering the country which is a threefold increase compared to the global average growth.
In fact, it could be said that Iran is recognized as one of the top countries in the world, with regards to its history, civilization and tradition as well as its monuments, historical structure and cultural heritage.
This country has registered more than 21 historical monuments in UNESCO and has one million buildings and historical sites. This a long with perfect security favorable climatic conditions, different and charming customs, abundant food diversity, renowned hospitality and most importantly being the cheapest tourism destination according to World Trade Organization has created attractiveness and great potential for foreign and international tourists.
Of course, we should also remember that in the past years , a distorted image of Iran was created
for a number of international tourists due to raising issues such as Iran-phobia and negative publicity in some media. Fortunately, the international relations and communication with other countries of the world have dramatically increased following the lifting of sanctions and the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action( JCPOA) and a huge amount of travel of the high-ranking political, economic and trade delegations as well as foreign investors to Iran has boasted the security and stabilitystatus of the country to the rest of the world.
In fact, the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action created a good opportunity for people around the world to believe that Iran is a safe and stable country and they could travel to this country and enjoyits unique tourist attractions without any concern.
A 12 percent growth of tourist entry to Iran is one of the excellent examples of the positive effects ofthe implementation of JCPOA.
Could you please provide us with the future plans of Iran’s Cultural Heritage Handicrafts and Tourism Organization(ICHTO) to attract foreign investment?
Given that Iran enjoys a huge capacity in the tourist area, investment in this industry will be with a quick return and economical.
Fortunately, with the lifting of sanctions and implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), numerous negotiations have been made with foreign investors in the tourism sector.
For example, a number of experts from countries like Italy, Spain and China have been invited to fund the revitalization of historical buildings and monuments and infrastructure of cultural heritage and tourism.
Direct investment in the last year to revitalize the monuments had a 1000 percent growth and we had experienced 10 times increase in the fund absorption.
Indeed the results obtained are clear examples of the positive effects of the removal of sanctions against Iran.
Cultural Heritage Organization also tries to present a worthy and better image of Iran and its tourist attractions by participating in international tourism fairs in different countries such as Spain and England.
The abolition of visas, together with the big revolution in the hotel industry and preparation to provide the best services for international tourists are among other big steps in order to achieve the purpose of the further flourishing of the tourism industry in Iran.