Iran discusses visa facilitation with China, Japan, South Korea
Iranian tourism officials will discuss the possibility of relaxing visa regulations with China, Japan, and South Korea over the coming months, according to the head of the Cultural Heritage, Crafts and Tourism Organization Tourism of Iran.
Zahra Ahmadipour said delegates from all three countries would visit Iran in the coming months to hold talks on the subject, adding that further discussions will take place with China in the margins of the 22nd General Assembly of the World Tourism (11-16 September) In the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to local media.
“Japan is a priority source market for countries that are looking to expand their travel industry, so they are developing comprehensive plans,” she said. “However, our share of the Japanese outbound tourism market is insignificant … This must change.”
China is also a major target for Iran, ranked among the top five in Iran’s list of target markets. Chinese tourists are high spenders and in 2016 cost about $ 261 billion to travel abroad, which has set a new record.
The country of East Asia is also the world’s largest market for overseas travel, with about 135 million Chinese tourists traveling abroad last year.
The travel market from Korea has also grown rapidly since 2011, rising from more than 52% to 19.3 million in 2015. In 2015, South Koreans spent more than $ 21.2 billion on their Trips abroad.
Iran has continued visa-free travel and restricted visa regulations with the target countries for years. In 2015, Tehran abolished the visa regime with Georgia and Armenia and announced that it was offering a visa upon arrival at airports in more than 180 countries.
Discussions are expected with Azerbaijan and India to agree on a visa-free trip, while the visa regime with Russia should be abolished by the end of the year 2017.
Decisions on visa regulations will ultimately require the approval of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has a strict policy of reciprocity when it comes to issuing visa waivers.
Some industry players say that the unilateral abolition of the visa regime in some cases may be more advantageous, but the ICHHTO disagrees.
“The position of the ministry here is correct. The unilateral abolition of visa procedures will not help improve the global position of the Iranian passport,” said Ali Baqer Nemati Zargaran, director of the Promotion and Marketing Bureau. some months.
The strength of a passport is calculated according to the freedom of travel it provides, ie the number of countries where the passport holder can travel without applying for a visa. Iran currently ranks 92, according to the Passport Index.