The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) placed Iran among the top 50 tourism destinations across the world for the first time.
The head of UNWTO secretariat in Iran, Ali Bagher Nemati, told Iran’s Mehr News Agency that “UNWTO announced top 50 countries in terms of tourism attractions. By attracting 4.7 million foreign tourists, Iran ranked 48th in 2013 for the first time since the Islamic Revolution,”
“UNWTO announces only 50 top tourist destination countries annually and it is for the first time that Iran improved its ranking to be added to the list”, he added.
Nemati added that the World Tourism Organization enjoys comprehensive and valuable information and experiences to help member states develop their tourism industries methodically.
He added that each tourists spends and average of $1,300 whereas Europeans expend more and tourists from neighboring countries spend less. “According to UNWTO, South Asian countries, where Iran is also categorized, earn an average of $1,570 per tourist.”
Nemati estimated Iran’s income from tourism as about 7 billion and 379 million dollars in 2013, while WTO figures indicate the United States as the world’s top-earning country from tourism with $128 billion in 2012.
Last month, an Iran’s top tourism official said that the number of foreigners visiting Iran jumped dramatically over the 12-month period ending in March, with 35 percent more tourists compared to the same period a year earlier
Masoud Soltanifar said on state TV that the thriving industry could help boost Iran’s economy out of recession and bring in much-needed hard currency. He said 4.5 million foreign tourists that came to the Islamic Republic over the period, bringing in some $6 billion in revenue.
Soltanifar attributed the increase to the 2013 election of President Hassan Rouhani.