Iran tourism will rebound despite suffering a severe blow: minister

January 12, 2020 - 19:27

TEHRAN – Iran’s tourism minister on Sunday said that the country’s tourism industry has suffered a major setback but it will certainly return to “normal”.

Ali-Asghar Mounesan made the remarks referring to the Ukrainian plane crash on January 8 near Tehran that killed all 176 people on board.

“These events are a major blow to tourism, but we will leave it behind by the means of new plans and we will definitely return to normal,” the minister said, ISNA reported.

“A lot of efforts in the arena of [travel] advertisements were made with the participation of the private sector during the current [Iranian calendar] year (started March 21, 2019). We introduced Iran to target countries, but now we are facing a situation where new procedures are needed.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mounesan pointed to recent news that says inbound tours witnessed a 70 percent fall after the plane crash incident, noting, “Some countries issued travel advisories [against traveling to Iran] that led to tour cancelations.”

“70 percent drop is definitely a substantial figure. For [travelers from] some countries the drop is greater and for some lesser.”

He concluded that the ministry is mulling over new travel markets in order to rebound.

Moreover, international safety warnings have been issued for tourists and other travelers heading to prime destinations in the Middle East in the wake of the assassination of the top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces on January 3.

The U.S. State Department and British Foreign Commonwealth Office were among the many government bodies to issue "do not travel" advisories for Iran.

However, neither Russian travelers were reportedly calling off their Iran trips nor airlines the flights passing through Iranian airspace following the deadly Ukrainian plane crash, the Moscow Times reported.

Some 6.7 million foreign nationals have visited Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year, according to data announced by Mojtaba Karimi who presides over Foreign Ministry’s visa and passport department.

Iran welcomed some 7.8 million foreign nationals last year, achieving a 52.5 percent increase year on year.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, Iraq was the main source of tourism for Iran in 2018, constituting 24% of all inbound visitors. Azerbaijan with (17%), Turkey (8%), Pakistan (4%) and Bahrain (2%) constituted other major sources while the remaining 46% came from the rest of the world.

The ancient land embraces hundreds of historical sites such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 22 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, the country aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

AFM/MG

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