Some 20 million foreign tourists traveled to Iran from the summer of 2013 (when President Hassan Rouhani took office) up to the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2016), the tourism deputy at Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.
During a press conference on Sunday, Morteza Rahmani Movahed added that since the current administration came to power, 19.9 million tourists visited Iran and injected $32 billion into the domestic economy, the Persian daily Shahrvand reported.
Since collecting and reporting data are one of Iran’s weakest attributes, reporters quizzed the official on the source of the statistics.
“A globally accepted definition of an international tourist is one who spends at least 24 hours in a foreign country,” he said.
“According to the UN World Tourism Organization, every tourist in West Asia spends between $1,520 and $1,750, so we used an average ($1,650) to calculate our revenue.”
In other words, the statistics by ICHHTO are approximate figures based on UNWTO estimates.
Last year, some 5.5 million tourists visited Iran, constituting nearly a quarter of the country’s ambitious 2025 target of 20 million annual tourists.