Iran is looking to boost tourism investment from international hoteliers by offering a tax break of up to 13 years, said leaders at a tourism summit, according to the Times of Israel

“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.

The country’s visitor numbers are rising as Iran has sought to thaw relations with nations around the world. According to the Times of Israel, the country received 5.2 million visitors in 2015-- up from 2.2 million in 2009. 

“By 2025, they are hoping to reach 20 million visitors a year. The government hopes to see 300 new hotels over the next five years as it seeks radical improvements to its low-quality tourist accommodation,” says the paper.

One hotel company making a big showing in the country is Accor, which was one of the first companies to open properties in Iran after the nuclear deal struck in 2015. 

“We are working actively on 10 to 15 projects in Iran,” Christophe Landais, chief operating officer for France’s Accor Hotels in Iran, told AFP.

Many hoteliers are interested in the Mashhad, including Accor.

 “Mashhad is the destination for pilgrims. Actually Mashhad receives more pilgrims than Mecca in Saudi Arabia — about 25 million,” Landais told the Times of Israel.

Several hotel operators already had Iran on the map for expansion, even before the tax holiday was announced. To read more on the booming hotel industry in Iran, read on here