Iran offers tax breaks to hoteliers to boost tourism industry
IRAN is offering up to 13 years of tax holidays to hoteliers as it seeks to boost visitor numbers and revamp its dilapidated hotels.
“All economic activities related to ... tourism will enjoy 100 percent tax holidays between five to 13 years depending on the region,” deputy economy minister Mohammad Khazaei told hoteliers from 18 countries who had gathered in Tehran.
Since the lifting of international sanctions under last year’s nuclear deal, the moderate government of President Hassan Rouhani has made tourism a top priority for rebuilding Iran’s struggling economy.
Visitor numbers have already boomed in recent years thanks to a partial thaw in the country’s relations with the world, rising from 2.2 million in 2009 to 5.2 million in 2015.
The government hopes to see 300 new hotels over the next five years as it seeks radical improvements to its low-quality tourist accommodation.
It is hoped a rejuvenated tourism sector can create some 140,000 new jobs, with around half coming from Iran’s handicrafts sector, said the minister for roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi.
Projects to build some 170 fourand five-star hotels are already under way, he added.
“We are working actively on 10 to 15 projects in Iran,” said Christophe Landais, chief operating officer for France’s Accor Hotels in Iran.
Accor was the first international company to open hotels after the historic nuclear deal – an Ibis and Novotel outside Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport last September.
Tourism made up 7.6 percent of Iran’s GDP in 2015, “which we hope to increase to about 9pc in 2016”, Mr Khazael added. –