Iran is to host the first Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference, a top-level gathering of international investors, owners, operators, developers and government officials.
In addition to rich reserves of oil, gas and metals, Iran has a promising consumer sector with a well-educated population of 80 million inhabitants.
There are huge investment opportunities across all of Iran’s economic sectors – energy, mining, hospitality and tourism, fast moving consumer goods, food and beverage, retail, automotive, aviation and manufacturing.
Under the 2025 Tourism Vision plan, Iran is expecting to increase the number of tourism arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million by 2025.
The 4.8 million tourists brought around $6.5 billion in revenue to the country despite sanctions and limitations imposed by the EU, the UN and the USA.
With the lifting of sanctions in January, it is expected that by 2025 the country will receive $30 billion from tourism income.
Only 13 out of the 96 hotels in Tehran are classified as four or five-star, although it is widely acknowledged that these would not meet internationally recognised standards for such classification.
Sébastien Bazin, chairman, AccorHotels speaking at AHIF 2015 said: “The Iranian market is a top priority for AccorHotels, as are Africa and India.
“These three geographies are ones where I want to make a major push.
“They have a lot of things in common: civilization, architecture, demography, booming medium-sized enterprises, lack of supply, lack of infrastructure and lack of low-cost airlines.”
In 2014, AccorHotels became the first international hotel group to enter the market since the 1979 revolution.
According to Iran chief of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism organisation, Masoud Soltanifar, investing in the tourism sector has become one of the priorities of the Iranian authorities.
The government has provided a series of incentives through the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act including a 50 per cent full term tax reduction on income, loan structure and eligibility for government funding and property ownership rights.
Other hotel operators have also seen the potential and entered the market already.
Jonathan Worsley, chairman of Bench Events and founder of IHTIC, said: “I greatly enjoy pioneering new markets; it started with IHIF in Berlin 20 years ago and has continued right through to the Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference in 2017.
“I believe in Iran’s hospitality potential and while breaking new ground is risky with numerous obstacles, those that are first-to-market will no doubt benefit from healthy ROI’s and relationships with both local partners, investors and authorities alike.”
The Iran Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference will take place February 7th-8th at the Parsian Evin Hotel in Tehran.