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Iran ranks 68th in tourism revenues worldwide

Iran ranks 68th in tourism revenues worldwide, said deputy head of research for Iran Travel and Tourism Organization (ITTO) Mahmoud Mohammadi said in Ramsar, Mazandaran province on Saturday, IRNA reported.

Speaking at a tourism promotion seminar Mohammadi told IRNA that the tourism revenues average about rls two billion annually. He said Iran with attractive natural and historical sites is rated among the 10 most touristic countries in the world "therefore it is imperative to devise comprehensive programs to promote tourism,". Close to 1.8 percent of national employment is generated in the tourism sector, "which is slated to increase to 10 percent in the next five years."

He said the numbers of hotels and motels in the country are 641 with 63,000 beds, adding "in the next three years the figure is slated to increase to 83,000."

Meanwhile, Head of ITTO Mohammad Taha Abdekhodaei condemned here recently what he called as attempts to "profit from tourism." "We will not let some people, through profiteering in tourism, deny the country from the ample revenues of foreign tourists," he stated.

He told IRNA that each tourist creates two to three jobs saying that the country cannot afford to lose these jobs. "We should beware that any uncalled moral, cultural or economic behavior will have ramification which will seriously damage the nation`s image in other countries."

He reiterated that a steady flow of tourists will be beneficial to the country.

The latest statistics indicate that the number of tourists visiting Iran has declined by 9.5 percent in the current Iranian year (started March 21) compared to the same period last year. The Customs Organization reported here in August that 1.352 million arrived in the country, "of whom 812,500 were Iranians and the rest foreign nationals."

It said the number of Iranian and foreign nationals visiting the country have declined by 7.6 percent and 12.8 percent, respectively compared to the same period in previous year. (09/07/2003, Payvand's Iran News)


Awakening Iran

Getting there: Alitalia (via Rome), British Airways (via London), KLM (via Amsterdam) and Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) offer connecting service between LAX and Tehran, with round-trip restricted coach fares beginning at $2,431.

Tour operators with experience in Iran: Distant Horizons, 350 Elm Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802; telephone (800) 333-1240, fax (562) 983-8833. Tours are 18 days (which means 16 nights in Iran), along with a tour leader and a Persian scholar. The 1998 price is $4,940 per person, double occupancy, excluding air fare to and from New York.

Geographic Expeditions, 2627 Lombard St., San Francisco, CA 94123; tel. (800) 777-8183, fax (415) 346-5535. It offers 24-day itineraries, with a tour leader and local Iranian guides. The 1998 price is $4,090 per person, double occupancy, excluding flights to and from Tehran, but the figures drops by $400 if 10 travelers sign on. The 1999 base price is expected to be $4,790.

Travcoa World Tours, 2350 S.E. Bristol St., Newport Beach, CA 92660; tel. (800) 992-2003, fax (949) 476-2538. Tour combines Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey on a 20-day itinerary, with half that time spent in Iran. Tours are joined by a U.S.-based tour manager and local guides. This year's brochure price is $7,595 per person, double occupancy, excluding transatlantic air fare.

Cyrus Travel, 9454 Wilshire Blvd., Suite M-20, Beverly Hills, CA 90212; tel. (310) 888-8810, fax (310) 888-8812. It typically offers 16-day itineraries, with bilingual locally based guides. This year's brochure prices are $2,850 to $3,050 per person, double occupancy, excluding air fare to and from Tehran.

Other companies with Iran trips in the works include Alpine Ascents International, 121 Mercer St., Seattle, WA 98109; tel. (206) 378-1927, fax (206) 378-1937 (a late August climb of the 18,000-foot Mt. Damavand is planned); and Silk Road Tours, 300-1497 Marine Drive, West Vancouver BC V7T 1B8, Canada; tel. (604) 925-3831, fax (604) 925-6269.

U.S. policy: There are ongoing government concerns about the safety of Americans traveling in the Middle East. For a recent advisory, see page L22. Search the archives of the Los Angeles Times for similar stories. You will not be charged to look for stories, only to retrieve one.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

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