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Iran's tourism industry scrambles to catch up with demand

As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani improves relations with the West, Iranian officials announce they will build more hotels to meet the expected demand of foreign tourists.
A Spanish tourist walks past an Achaemenid griffin at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis near Shiraz in southern Iran on September 26, 2014. At the foot of Persepolis, the giant sun-dried brick ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid and first Persian empire, foreign tourists pour out of buses and gaze in wonder. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI        (Photo credit should read BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Officials in Iran have announced plans to build 400 new three- and four-star hotels. Masoud Soltanifar, the head of the Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization, announced that while there are more than 1,100 hotels in the country, only 130 of them rank three or four stars, and that during the next 10 years, 400 new hotels should be built. He said that the goal is to increase Iran’s visitors from 5 million to 20 million per year. Soltanifar made these comments in the northern city of Rasht during a meeting regarding the establishment of a tourism university in the city of Rasht.

The Iranian government is hoping to increase the country’s tourism revenue from its current $6 billion to $25 billion to $30 billion per year.

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