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Iran turns to tourism to earn hard currency, create jobs

From developing infrastructure to expanding marine tourism and easing visa issuances, Iran is increasingly focusing on its underdeveloped tourism sector as US sanctions are reimposed.
Tourists visit the Azadi Tower in the capital Tehran on April 19, 2018. - On April 15, the central bank banned foreign exchange bureaus "until further notice" from buying or selling foreign currency, leaving banks alone to carry out such transactions. But in practice, they refuse to do so, according to numerous testimonies. (Photo by ATTA KENARE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

As another round of broad US sanctions against Iran is set to be implemented, the Islamic Republic is redoubling its efforts to boost its underdeveloped tourism sector through new initiatives and accelerating the finalization of nascent measures.

The psychological effects of the return of US sanctions and underlying structural weaknesses in Iran's economy have jointly acted to send the national currency into a tailspin in recent months. But a weak rial also means cheaper travel for foreigners, prompting Iran to snatch the opportunity to both ease pressure on its hard currency reserves and also to combat US efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.

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