Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 12
By Umid Niayesh, Temkin Jafarov– Trend:
Nearly one million tourists from the Azerbaijani Republic visit Iran every year, the Iranian vice president, Masoud Soltanifar, told Trend on Nov. 12.
Ties with neighboring countries are important to Iran, said Soltanifar, who heads the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization, adding that Tehran tries to facilitate visits by neighboring countries’ tourists to Iran.
He further noted that facilitating the issuance of visas was vital for the development of Iran's tourism sector.
The official added that citizens of 190 countries can get a visa at the airport to visit Iran.
Tehran has also extended the validity of these on-arrival visas, available at seven airports around the country, from 15 to 30 days, he claimed.
The Iranian administration is also preparing to launch an electronic visa (e-visa) facility by next year, making it simpler for tourists to apply for an Iranian visa, Soltanifar added.
The country also seeks reciprocal visa-waiver programs with some countries as part of its bid to boost tourism, he noted.
Over five million tourists visited Iran in the last fiscal year (ended March 21), four percent more year-on-year (y/y), according to Morteza Rahmani Movahed, deputy head of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization.
In 2013, most tourists came to Iran from the following countries: Iraq (1.6 million, 52 percent more y/y), Azerbaijan (1.1 million, 59 percent more), Afghanistan (392,560, 27.4 percent more), Turkey (391,283, 0.34 percent less), and Turkmenistan (169,618, 19.8 percent more).
Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh
Stay up to date with latest Iran news on our specialized Facebook page
Follow us on Twitter @TRENDNewsAgency