Iranian Vice-President and Head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization (ICHHTO) Massoud Soltanifar expressed pleasure that more foreign tourists are showing interest in traveling to the country recently despite the US-led western sanctions.
"Over 4.5 million foreign tourists visited Iran in the last Iranian year (ended March 20, 2014) and brought around $5 billion of revenues to the country despite all sanctions and limitations," Soltanifar said.
Soltanifar noted that Iran has over one million historical and natural sites that only 31,100 or nearly three percent of them have been registered.
In March, Soltanifar invited foreigners to visit Iran's various tourist destinations, and stressed that the country enjoys high level of security for the foreign tourists.
"The security for tourists is in an ideal state in the country," Soltanifar said.
He pointed to the latest figures released by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), and said, "Tourists' requests to visit Iran in the past months has had a remarkable growth."
The senior official noted that the growth is the result of easing some of the anti-Iran sanctions in the past months which has taken place as a result of interim agreement reached between Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) in November 2013.
Iran and the Group 5+1 representatives had several sessions of talks in Vienna March 18-19.
On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over the latter's nuclear energy program.