EghtesadOnline: About 190 billion rials ($4.7 million) have been allocated to key tourism projects in Bushehr Province to help develop the southwestern province's infrastructure and, by extension, realize Iran's ambitious tourism goals.
According to Nasser Amirzadeh, tourism deputy at the provincial office of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, the budget will allow local authorities to resume work on unfinished projects and create jobs.
"The money will accelerate the construction of a three-star hotel and a leisure complex in Bushehr city, which are expected to become operational by the end of the next Iranian year (ends March 2018)," ISNA quoted the official as saying.
Commending the administration of President Hassan Rouhani for "its attention to the tourism sector", Amirzadeh said the provincial ICHHTO will present more investment opportunities soon.
Iran currently receives over 5.1 million tourists every year, most of whom are pilgrims who visit the shrine of the eighth imam of Shia Muslims, Imam Reza (PBUH), in Mashhad.
The country’s long-term goal is to annually host 20 million tourists by 2025, increasing its meager annual revenue of $7.5 billion by more than threefold, Financial Tribune reported.
Located off the Persian Gulf coast, the province of Bushehr boasts more than 700 kilometers of coastline where tourists can enjoy the sun, sand and a variety of other water sports.
About 80% of Bushehr have a coastline alongside the Persian Gulf. Its tourism potentials have largely been overlooked in favor of the region’s massive oil and gas reserves.
The current policies are focused on the tourism industry to jumpstart the sluggish economy following the lifting of international sanctions in January. It aims to move away from an oil-dependent economy, contemplating tourism as a possible alternative, although this income avenue still has a long way to go.