Chinese tourists will no longer need a visa to enter Iran. “The [Iranian] cabinet has agreed to waive visa requirements for Chinese nationals entering the Islamic Republic of Iran”, said the deputy head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcraft and Tourism Organization Vali Teymouri.
Teymouri added that the visa waiver will come into effect after due process. The unilateral decision came following years of discussions about visa-free travel between Iranian and Chinese authorities. But China has not yet announced suspension of visa requirement for Iranians.
Iran, with its numerous tourist attractions, is seeking to host two million Chinese tourists per year in an attempt to give its economy a boost. Last year, only less than seventy thousand tourists from China visited Iran.
Some 7.8 million foreign nationals visited Iran in 2018. The figure shows a 52.5 percent increase from the previous year. Some believe the devaluation of the Iranian Rial contributed significantly to the upsurge.
Last week, the Iranian government announced that the country will no longer stamp visitors’ passports. The move was another attempt to attract more foreign tourists by circumventing US restrictions on travelers who have visited Iran.
Iran is looking to attract 20 million foreign tourists annually by 2025. The development of the tourism sector is believed to help ease the economic hardships caused by Washington’s sanctions on Iran.