Impressive archaeological sites, carefully planned museums, and ecological wonders await the curious traveler in Iran, a country that has something for everyone.
Iran successful domestic market has laid the groundwork for an increased amount of foreign visitors interested in the history, natural beauty, and business opportunities Iran has to offer.
Travelers seeking to delve deep into history and the origins of civilization need look no further than Iran, where a mosaic of cultures and natural landscapes transcends the perception of the country in the international arena.
Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) is the related authority in Iran.
With the goal of capitalizing on the already productive domestic market, ICHTO has identified 1,200 Tourism special Zone that investors can take advantage of it .With the support of OIETAI, ICHTO aims to attract a much larger FDI figure to the tourism industry in 2013.
Iran’s Potentials in Tourism
- 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites
- 10th Country on Tourism Attractions and 5th on Ecotourism
- One of the rich countries of the cultural places, ecotourism sites and historical monuments which called the cradle of civilization in other way the history of the Country goes back to 7000 written history
- An array of museums
- A myriad of ecotourism opportunities
- Numerous religious sites
- Affordable healthcare services
- Extensive bus network and air and rail infrastructure in the country
Until now, UNESCO has designated 15 of Iran's various historical and natural sites as part of world heritage; includes:
especially for those interested in religious history it is estimated that there are more than 28 messengers of God have tombs throughout Iran.
Some of top sites are as below:
• Persepolis, the complex of Xerox palaces having the detail of 2,500 year-Old Persian reliefs.
• The ancient Mesopotamian ziggurat and complex of Chogha Zanbil is an intriguing remnant from the Elamite Empire more than 3,500 years ago which stand as a testament to the feats of ancient engineering.
• Soltaniyeh Dome, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005, is an architectural masterpiece that was built in 1302 AD. As the oldest double-shell dome in the country, the structure paved the way for construction of holy buildings throughout the Muslim world and has captivated the attention of both pilgrims and historians for centuries.
The Iranian government has established a number of museums to showcase artifacts and present the stories of civilization to an international audience
• The Treasury of the National Jewels in Tehran, the National Museum, Golestan Palace in Tehran, and the Sheikh Safi Museum in Ardabil are just a handful of venues that feature the collage of Iran's historical and traditional past.
• In addition, Tehran's Contemporary Art Museum showcases over 7,000 texts in both Persian and English as part of a specialized library.
• Iran's natural beauty and conservation efforts are nothing short of impressive. Stunning waterfalls, deserts, forests, lagoons, caves, swamps, and lakes represent a diverse array of climatic zones and landforms, comparable only to the continental US.
Protected areas and National Park:
In total, the country boasts 28 natural parks,43 protected wildlife zones, and 166 protected areas, committing nearly 5% of its land-an area of 8 million hectares-to ecotourism and the preservation of natural resources. Among the most popular destinations for eco-holidaymakers are Galestan National Park, Kavir National Park, Lar Protected Area, Bakhtegan Lake, and Bamou National Park.
Sea and Coastline:
Due to the extensive bus network and air and rail infrastructure in the country, domestic tourists most often travel to visit friends and family during the summer months. Given the country's abundant natural beauty and coastal destinations, approximately 24% of domestic tourists traveled for sightseeing or entertainment purposes in 2011. However, medical tourism and pilgrimage make up an additional 23% of travel throughout the country.
In addition to beaches 700 Km alongside the Caspian Sea are the most popular destinations for domestic tourism.
The city of Mashhad, visited by the Muslims to pay homage to the Holy Shrine of am Reza, the largest mosque in the world by area which accommodates 20 million pilgrims and tourists every year. Other notable holy sites include the Danial-e Nabi Mausoleum, one the messengers of God in shosa, Shrine of Hazrat-e Masumeh, the sister of and the Chak Chakoo Fire Temple, which is famous for the legendary dripping water that falls from surrounding rock formations.
Plans for Future:
As part of Vision 2025, the government aims for Iran to achieve a stronger position among global tourism destinations, setting a target of 7.5 million foreign arrivals.
Although the number of international arrivals has been steadily increasing-up from 2.2 million people in 2009 to 3.6 million from in 2011 at a growth rate of 58% domestic tourism is a key segment of the sector overall.
A large majority of Iranians frequently travel within the country on a yearly basis, and although they do not typically inject as much money into the economy as foreign tourists are known to contribute, the development of transportation and communications infrastructure is fueled by the large amount of domestic traffic.
The overall goal of the Tourism industry is to attract 2% of the world's tourists, or 20 million people, to Iran by 2025. In 2011, the country earned approximately $6 billion from the tourism sector, and in 2013 analysts expect the tourism industry to grow by a significant 135%.
Ministry of Roads and Urban Development of the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for all kinds of transportation. The Ministry by itself has got five important sub-sectors as follows which undertake implementation and operation of transport infrastructures:
- Company for Construction and Expansion of Transport Infrastructures
• Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization
• The Railways Company of the Islamic Republic of Iran
• Ports and Maritime Organization
• Civil Aviation Organization
- Considering the key role of transportation in economic development of the country especially foreign trade and transit operation, Islamic Republic of Iran approved in 2000 its general policies in transportation sector with focus on the following priorities:
- Establishment of transport system and regulating portion of each sub- sector through giving priority to the rail transportation and with regard to the following aspects:
• Economic considerations
• Decrease in energy consumption
• Decrease in environmental pollution
• Increase of safety
• Balancing between infrastructures and fleet, navigation equipment and demand
• Increase in productivity at the highest level through promoting transport modes and management and human resources and information.
-According to the country’s fifth Five-Year Development Plan (FYDP), the Iranian government allocated approximately $34 billion to the transportation sector in 2010.
With renewed interest in connecting international points by land, sea, and air, the government had utilized about 80% of these funds by 2012.
-The amount of cargo and passengers traveling along these routes has increased significantly in the past decade, with airline companies seeing some of the largest growth. In 2011, 27 million travelers and businesspeople passed customs, and the government surpassed its passenger and cargo targets by over 100%.
-Rail and road networks are being focused on as the key for a streamlined transport corridor from east to west, and in 2012 there has been an increase in the number and quality of a variety of valuable connection routes both throughout the country and extending beyond its borders.
-Sea freight capacity has steadily increased since 2009, on a growth pattern that has been accelerated by better quality services and faster loading and unloading times. By 2011, Iran’s TEU handling capacity reached 2.8 million, up from 1.7 million TEUs in 2007. Over the same period, passenger traffic by sea displayed 21% growth, making Iran an increasingly accessible destination for a variety of both new and loyal markets.
Models of Transportation:
-In total, Iran’s road network covers a distance of 180,958 kilometers, with 9,124 kilometers of paved highways and freeways. In 2011, the government launched projects to construct 6,500 kilometers of additional roads, many of them designed to enhance the travel experience beetween major international cities and Tehran, as well as cut transportation costs and times.
- Islamic Republic of Iran has given a priority to construct, rehabilitate and upgrade the existing roads of Asian Highway Network and has made noticeable measures in this regard.
-Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has paied attention to public- private partnership in construction and completion of transport infrastructure projects. In road sector, many freeways, highways projects are being constructed or rehabilitated on BOT, Partnership or other methods.
-The rail network of the Islamic Republic of Iran is connected to middle East and Europe railways from West (Razi border), to Azerbaijan railway from North West (Jolfa border), to Caspian sea and ports of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia from North (ports of Amirabad, Neka and Turkmenistan), to Central Asian, Russia and China railways from North East (Sarakhs border), to Pakistan railway from South East (Mirjaveh border) and to Persian Gulf and open seas of the world from South (Bandar Abbas and Imam Khomeini ports).
-Railroads currently stretch across 11,760 kilometers of the country, with 3,352 kilometers currently under construction. With a wider range and increasingly useful routes, passenger traffic increased 5.3% in 2011. In 2011, 27.7 million people used the country’s rail networks, and 32.8 million tons of goods were transported, accounting for 9% and 11%, respectively, of the country’s total transportation.
-In accordance with the fifth FYDP, the government intends to add 15,000 additional kilometers of rail to its existing network by 2015. To help achieve this goal, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development worked to attract €17 billion in FDI, much of which will be used to expand the rolling stock of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) and its associate companies, Raja Passenger Train and Railway Transportation.
3- Civil Aviation :
-In civil aviation sector, there are 54 airport in the country ,which 8 of them are international
- Iran Air is the national carrier. Today, the company services 6 million passengers per year, many of them flying on one of the 100 daily domestic flights to 28 destinations.
- Domestic passenger traffic has increased by an average of 7% over the last 10 years, and at the same time international air travel in Iran has grown by a robust 9% per year, which is far above the world average.this growth trend will continue for at least the next few years. With 3,300 employees and growing, the expansion of the business may lead to a bright future.
-promotion of capacity of ports of Chabahar and Shahid Rajaee in South and Amirabad in North as well as establishment of shipping lines in the region are among measures taken in the framework of transport cooperation vision which shall deeply affect transportation and trade in Asia and the Pacific.Ports of Shahid Rajaee, Amirabad and Anzali enjoy outstanding location in transit route of the North- South corridor. In addition, ports of Imam Khomeini, Shahid Bahonar, Lengeh, Boushehr, Chabahar and Noshahr have got their own unique potentials.
-The nominal capacity of commercial ports grew to over 150 million tons in 2010-2011, marking an increase of 5.6% over the previous period.
Leading this growth is Bandar Abbas, Iran’s main container port in the country and largest hub in the Persian Gulf. In 2010, the port’s cargo ally and 52traffic reached 2.5 million TEUs, accounting for nearly 95% of the country’s total TEU handling activity. In addition, the port accounted for 37% of the country’s total transit traffic in 2011.
. 5-Transit Operation:
-Islamic Republic of Iran has targeted in transit sector in a way that it shall reach to figure of 40 million tons of goods by the end of Fifth Economic Development Program (2015).