Iran has been identified as the world’s next travel hotspot, according to the new WTM Global Trends Report 2015.
The country’s main tourist attractions include its ancient Persian history and 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites — the most of any Middle Eastern country.
As recently as September, the country saw the addition of two ancient sites added to UNESCO’s world heritage list: the Susa archeological mounds and the Meymand village.
But Iran is also hoping to promote its lesser known assets such as the country’s 19 ski resorts and its natural heritage, which offers mountain climbing and bird-watching opportunities, experts add.
Iranian officials are hoping that recently implemented measures including the relaxing of visa rules and aggressive hotel development plans will likewise increase their tourism numbers from 5 million in 2014 to 20 million by 2025.
The biggest source markets currently come from neighboring Iraq, which sends 1.65 million tourists to Iran, followed by Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.
France’s AccorHotels became the first Western hotel group to enter the Iranian market, opening of a Novotel and Ibis at Tehran’s international airport in September.
And the UAE’s Rotana hotel group plans to open four hotels in 2018.
(Source: CTV News)
(Picture: Meidan Emam, Esfahan – UNESCO)