Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Ali Asghar Mounesan says that namig September 27 as International Tourism Day and marking a week with this name in our country indicates the importance of this growing industry on a national and international scale. Last year, the momentum of the Iranian tourism wheel on the global rails of the industry has become more smooth.
Ali Asghar Mounesan in his note in Shargh Daily says that at such times each year, a variety of special programs are being held around the world to focus on tourism and its advantages and challenges to reaffirm the unparalleled role of this industry in the global economy and sustainable development of communities.
The Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has realized the importance of this industry and recognized the natural and historical capacities and attractions of our country over the last few years.
Despite unilateral US sanctions and efforts for Iranophobia, Iran's tourism growth has accelerated over the past two years, and the movement of the Iranian tourism wheel on the industry's global rails has become smoother.
In fact, the welcome of the world tourism activists to Iran shows that the sanctions against our country are sterile and the increase in the number of tourists entering the country confirms this fact.
The diversity of international events in the past two years, including the Tabriz Tourism Event, the capital of the Islamic World, Hamedan 2018, the Asian Tourism Capital, was attended by the World Tourism Organization's affiliated members in Iran, with the Secretary-General of the Organization and the World Tourism Guides Meeting in Iran.
Also, the constructive engagement of the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization to advance our country's goals in this field, the organization of exhibit and cross-museum events between Iran and other communities, especially European countries, and countless others in this field, demonstrates Iran's active and effective diplomacy in the country's tourism industry.
This active diplomacy has also brought us valuable achievements, including increasing the number of world records of Iranian artifacts, gaining international standing at museum exhibitions, facilitating the return of Iranian monuments and accepting five new affiliated members of the World Tourism Organization.
Last year some 7 to 8 million tourists visited Iran ignoring very tough economic sanctions while four million tourists have entered the country since the beginning of this Iranian calendar year.
As such, it has been positive for the first time for Iran's tourism balance, and it is attempting to reach this balance on a case-by-case basis with different countries as well, for example with regard to Turkey approaching a positive level as well as implementing visa-free travel policies for countries. The goal, such as China as major market and some countries in the region, is seeing a marked increase in tourist arrivals from these countries to Iran.