TEHRAN – In an attempt to attract more tourists, Iran’s on-arrival visa validity has been extended from 14 days to 30 days, the director of Iran’s Cultural Heritage Tourism and Handicraft Organization Massud Soltanifar announced in a press conference on Monday.
“The 30-day validity can also be extended for another 15 days once a tourist enters the country,” Soltanifar said.
“From now onward, all Iranian airports located near borders are also allowed to issue visas for citizens of 190 countries,” he added.
Previously only Tehran Imam Khomeini Airport (IKA), Tehran Mehrabad Airport (THR), Mashad Airport (MHD), Shiraz Airport (SYZ), Tabriz Airport (TBZ) and Isfahan Airport (ISF) were allowed to issue visa on arrival.
“We intend to facilitate the process for issuing visa for tourists and plan to build more hotels and increase the number of tourist information offices in other countries to attract more foreign tourists to Iran,” Soltanifar said.
About 10 five-star and four-star hotels will be opened in the coming months in Iran, he added.
These are examples of measures taken to facilitate tourist visits to Iran in the wake of political developments in Iran’s international relations, he said.
“European investors are keen to make investments in Iran’s tourism, however the sanctions were a serious impediment for them,” he said.
Arab hoteliers have also funded in a number of projects in the Islamic Republic especially in religious cities like Mashhad, Soltanifar added.
The official had previously said that the number of foreign tourist arrivals grew 75% during the Iranian calendar year 1393, which ended on March 21, 2015.
Iran announced that many foreign tourists from different countries of Europe, Africa as well as U.S. and Australia visited the country during the past year.
In light of the reduction in inflation rate in Iran, the country is a low-priced destination for foreign tourists.
Iran made it onto the top destination lists of major publications such as The Financial Times and The Guardian last year thanks to sights that include 2,500-year-old ruins at Persepolis near Shiraz and 16th-century Islamic architectural gems in Isfahan.