Tehran, May 24, IRNA- Having an ancient history, mix of cultures, a variety of climate and beautiful nature, Iran has big tourism prospects which have been neglected.
[Interesting facts about Iran tourism]

Iran has it all starting from beautiful landscapes in different regions of the country, magnificent historical monuments to delicious food and Islamic masterpieces, Tehran-based English newspaper, Iran Daily, reported.
According to Iranian officials, the Islamic Republic had only a 0.5 percent share of revenues in the global tourism business which amounted to $1.5 trillion in 2014. President Hassan Rouhani seeks to increase the flow of tourists into the country.
Recently, the Majlis Research Center published a detailed report providing statistics of the tourism industry until 2013.
So, how does tourism fare in the Islamic Republic? Here is a list of facts about the tourism industry. The figures are extracted from the parliament’s Research Center report.
According to Iranian media, the country, ranks 15th in the world in terms of tourism potential. But, based on the number of tourists it receives, it ranks 45th-48th.
Under Iran's Islamic Sharia law, imposed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and body, unmarried couples may not share a hotel room and alcohol is banned.
Western credit cards don't work in Iran, meaning tourists have to bring cash.
Currently, Iran has 1,100 hotels; and only 130 of them are four- and five-star hotels. By 2025, the number of hotels in Iran will increase threefold.
Most tourists come from neighboring countries for treatment, visiting religious places and historical sites as well as sightseeing.
While 50 percent of tourists visiting Iran, do so on religious grounds, tourists from Europe, Canada, and Australia mostly visit natural sites in the north and the deserts in the south of the country.
About 81 percent of the tourists come to the country because they had heard about it before, four percent through promotional items on satellite TV, and 0.5 percent having familiarized themselves with the exhibitions organized outside Iran.
Travel and tourism directly accounted for about 2.2 percent of Iran's GDP in 2013. Tourism revenues had a 6.1 percent share of Iran’s GDP in 2014, with 81.5 percent of the mentioned revenues come from Iranians travelling within the country.
Some 3.8 million of foreign tourists visited Iran, bringing in revenues of $1.11 billion to the country in 2012. The figure stood at 4.77 million in 2013, 24.4 percent more than the year before.
Over five million tourists visited Iran in the last fiscal year (March 2014-March 2015), four percent more than the year before, according to Morteza Rahmani Movahhed, the deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization for tourism affairs.
In 2013, most tourists came to Iran from the following countries: Iraq (1.6 million), Azerbaijan (1.1 million), Afghanistan (392, 560), Turkey (391,283) and Turkmenistan (169,618).
- Turkey, Iraq and Saudi Arabia were also the top destinations for Iranian tourists. Some 1.2 million Iranians visited Turkey in 2013 which is 0.9 percent more than the year before.
- Iran is the most attractive country for tourists in terms of goods and services among 141 countries, according to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness 2015 report released by the World Economic Forum.
- Iran ranks 97th in terms of Travel and Tourism Competitiveness.
- Having a large number of Azari population is a positive point for the Islamic Republic to attract tourists from Azerbaijan Republic. Iran unilaterally abolished the visa regime with Azerbaijan in 2009. Azerbaijani citizens can travel to Iran without a visa, by submitting a passport. Azerbaijani citizens mainly visit Iran’s Azarbaijani provinces as well as capital city of Tehran which is also populated by a majority of Azari-speaking people. The main reason for Azerbaijani tourists' visit to Iran is medical treatment.
-. Only 143,600 Iranians visited Azerbaijan in 2013, 49.4 percent fewer than the year before.
- A flow of tourists from the US to Iran sharply increased in 2013, when over 1,743 US tourists visited Iran (758.6 percent more than in 2012).
- The number of European tourists visiting Iran also increased by 34 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year reaching some 1.78 million in 2013.