Three of the five most dangerous countries in the world are in the Middle East (Syria, Yemen and Iraq). Iran has focused on tourism to boost its economy. Despite US sanctions, the number of foreign visitors in Iran rose by 51 per cent in the first six months of the current fiscal year. Such growth is “unprecedented”.
Tehran– Travelling in Iran is as safe as travelling in the United Kingdom and Canada. The risk of encountering violence, accidents or criminal acts is very low, this according to the 2019 Travel Risk Map, developed by International SOS in collaboration with the UK-based Control Risks, which specialize in security policies and risk strategies.
The countries that constitute the highest security risk in the world are Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, three of them in the Mideast.
The map shows the risk level in each country and territory based on the current threat posed to travelers by political violence (including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence) and violent and petty crime.
Factors such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters are also taken into consideration, the Independent advisory indicated.
The 2019 Travel Risk Map has five categories of risk: insignificant, low, medium, high and extreme.
The first category includes European countries like Luxembourg, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, as well as the Seychelles and Cape Verde.
Iran, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand are in the low risk category.
For Iran this represents a success and encourages policies in favor of tourism, which the government has promoted in recent years.
The number of foreign tourists coming to Iran jumped by 51 per cent during the first six months of the current fiscal year (21 March-22 September) despite the re-imposition of US sanctions designed to isolate the country.
For Iranian officials, the growth has been “unprecedented”, and should continue through the end of the current Iranian year in March 2019.
To boost the tourism sector, Iran hosted the 40th Plenary Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Hamedan from 12 to 14 November.
The event drew hundreds of representatives and industry experts from around the world, a sign of international support for Iran in spite of the policies promoted by the White House.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said “We have traveled to Iran to promote Iran as a safe and calm tourism destination and through helping develop tourism in Iran, strengthen it in face of its problems.”
“Our presence in Iran,” he added, “means that we invite the people of the world to travel to this country and visit its many tourist attractions to add to the number of tourists visiting the country.”
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), Iran ranks 20th out of 185 nations in the world for the growth potential of its tourism sector.