TEHRAN – Iran has been introduced by United Nations World Tourism Organization as the world’s second fastest growing tourist destination in 2018, with 49.9 percent growth in arrivals year on year.
Surpassing rivals such as Egypt, Nepal, Georgia and South Korea, Iran was ranked the second after Ecuador, according to the UNWTO annual report which details the countries where tourism has grown the most, and where it has fallen the furthest.
“Here’s one that gladdens the heart. Iran’s numbers might still be small – 7.3 million visitors in 2018, compared with, say, France’s 89 million – but they’re increasing sharply. More and more people are being drawn to one of the world’s most misunderstood countries, which can only be a good thing. Get there now before everyone else does,” the Traveller reported.
In the ranking, Iran is followed by Egypt which its foreign arrivals were up 36 percent, Uganda with 31.9 percent, Nepal with 24 percent, Slovenia with 23 percent, Vietnam with 19.9 percent, Georgia with16.9 percent, and South Korea with 15.1 percent.
Iran welcomed some four million foreign nationals during the first five months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 – August 22), which shows 30 percent hike, compared with the same period last year, according to official data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.
The Islamic Republic attracted 7.8 million foreign travelers during the last Iranian year, which shows 50 percent growth year on year, the ministry announced earlier in September.
The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.
The country boasts hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Our Iran Destinations page describes most of these attractions in detail.
Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.