Iran ranks 19th for GDP contribution of tourism

TEHRAN — Iran ranked 19th out of 185 countries in the 2021 index of total travel and tourism contribution to GDP, according to a biennial report released by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The Islamic Republic ranks 19th with $48.1 billion in the 2021 index of total travel and tourism contribution to GDP, between South Korea and Switzerland, which were ranked 18th and 20th with GDP contributions of $48.8 billion and $44.5 billion, respectively.

The United States, China, Germany, Japan and Italy were named the top five countries on the same index. Figures from WTTC, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, come from its Economic Impact Report (EIR) 2021, which lays bare the devastating impact of COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Earning $33.3 billion, Iran was ranked 16th in the 2021 Domestic Visitor Spending Index, between Russia and the Philippines, which brought in $39.6 billion and $32.8 billion in result.

In 2019, Iran was ranked 17th in the same index, with $37.1 billion in revenue generated from spending by domestic visitors.

Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of WTTC, said: “With positive news from across Europe regarding the gradual reopening of borders, we hope to see many more countries take a more risk-based approach.” This will restore safe mobility through rapid testing and health and hygiene protocols, in addition to the benefits of rolling out vaccination, she explained.

“The urgent need to restore international travel is abundantly clear following the release of WTTC data, which shows the global travel and tourism sector has suffered disproportionately due to the pandemic.”

Globally, countries experienced an average decline in GDP contribution of 49.1%, while the global economy shrank by only 3.7% last year, showing how travel restrictions have significantly reduced the contribution of travel and tourism to economies around the world, Guevara said.

“We believe this shows that understandable but misguided actions to curb COVID-19 with ineffective and damaging travel restrictions such as quarantines, do more harm than good and end up crushing the very economies they were meant to. protect.”

Iran recorded some three million foreign tourist arrivals in the past 12 months as many pandemic entry restrictions were eased, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts . Last September, the Islamic Republic launched preliminary measures for a rebound, restarting the issuance of tourist visas after a 20-month hiatus and easing COVID-19 protocols for fully vaccinated passengers.

“Domestic travel has seen an increase of around 40% compared to the pre-coronavirus period,” the Ministry of Tourism said earlier this year.

Over 56 million passengers used buses for their overland journeys across Iran in the last Iranian calendar year (ending March 20).

Data compiled by the Road Maintenance and Transport Organization indicates that 103,364,000 passengers used ground public transport in Iran’s last 1400 years, Mehr reported.

About half of that figure, which includes 56,453,000 passengers, chose to travel by bus for domestic travel, the organization said.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Iranian tourism had grown steadily, reaching over eight million visitors in Iran’s calendar year 1398 (started March 21, 2019). This push, however, has helped prejudices grow thick and thin.

However, the strength of Iran is that the country enjoys a wide variety of travel destinations ranging from coasts and verdant woods to towering mountains and harsh deserts. As a wallet-friendly destination with hospitable people, Iran has long been a top destination for nature lovers, bird watchers, powder hunters, culture enthusiasts, pilgrims, museum buffs , foodies, adventurers, and medical travelers, to name a few.

Mass vaccinations against COVID-19, back-to-back familiarization visits for foreign tour operators, easing of travel procedures and new strategies, all together suggest that Iran is determined to experience a rebound in tourism relying more on its many tourist sites, 26 of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and above all, its welcoming people.

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