Skiers sit on a ski lift over the Darbandsar resort, 60 kms northeast of Tehran.
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Long seen as a destination strewn with shortcomings, Iran is making a fresh pitch for tourists, with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to cash in.Along with nine companions including Americans and Germans, China-based Frenchman Yannick Lequelenec said he aims to make "one unique journey" every year.The goal is 20 million tourists annually by 2025 which would provide $30 billion a year, a fivefold increase in current revenues from foreign visitors.There have been 4.16 million visitors in the first nine months of the Iranian year, which started in March 2015, up 5 percent from a year earlier, according to the Tourism Ministry.Of the country's 1,100 hotels, only 130 are four or five star – 400 more would be needed to accommodate 20 million tourists annually.Iran will have to adapt quickly to make the most of renewed interest.
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