Spain says it has seen a major increase in the number of its nationals visiting Iran as tourists.
Spain’s Ambassador to Tehran Pedro Villena has been quoted by local media as saying that there has been an increase of 300 percent in the number of Spanish tourists that have applied for visas to travel to Iran.
Villena has told Masoud Soltanifar, the president of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, that Madrid is eager to work with Tehran over the expansion of mutual cooperation over cultural as well as tourism areas.
He emphasized that ever since Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, there has been a significant surge in the number of Spanish nationals who want to travel to the country.
“We strongly believe that Iran is one of the most important tourist destinations in the world,” Villena was quoted as saying by the Persian-language newspaper Donyay-e Eqtesad reported.
“Spain itself generates at least 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) through tourism… We hope that Madrid would be able to help Tehran expand its tourism industry,” he added.
Soltanifar, for his part, said Iran has numerous tourism attractions and has serious plans to use them to increase national revenues through this industry.
He also said among the new plans that will be made operational in the near future is to increase the validity date for airport visas from the current period of two weeks to four weeks.
Soltanifar, who is also a vice president, further emphasized that Iran wants to increase the number of tourists visiting the country to as high as 20 million a year by 2025.
This, he said, will not be possible through preparing the required infrastructures for which Iran needs the help of other countries.