Iran’s travel and tourism sector grew at 1.9% to contribute 1,158 trillion rials ($8.83 billion) or 6.5% of overall GDP and 1,334 jobs (5.4% of total employment) to the economy in 2018.

This is according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s annual research into the economic impact and social importance of the sector.

The WTTC report also shows international visitors spent 168,954 billion rials ($1.28 billion) in Iran in 2018. The council expects the number of international arrivals to stand at 6.5 million in 2019.

Lately, Iranian authorities have redoubled efforts to boost the tourism sector for increasing foreign currency revenues and creating jobs under the declining economic conditions.

The decline in national currency last year meant that travelling to and shopping in Iran became cheaper for foreign nationals.

“The development of tourism infrastructure, the considerable volume of investments in the tourism sector, the issuance of electronic visa and visa waiver for target countries could be named as the main causes of the growth in the number of foreign travelers,” Ali Asghar Mounesan, the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization, said.

“About 7.8 million tourists traveled to Iran in the last Iranian year [ended March 20, 2019] to register a 52.5% growth compared with the preceding year.”

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