Iran rules out massive cancelation of inbound tours

January 14, 2020 - 19:52

TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri on Monday ruled out speculations that inbound tours have been massively canceled in the wake of recent tragic incidents in the country.

The Association of Air Transport and Tourist Agencies of Iran (AATTAI) had announced that inbound tours have dropped by 70 percent following a Ukrainian plane, with 176 people aboard, was mistakenly downed on January 8 by the IRGC air defense system. It happened a few hours after Iran fired dozens of missiles at the U.S. airbase inside Iraq in retaliation to the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.

Certainly, no one can deny the impact of the recent events on the tourism industry, but this problem can be resolved once tranquility comes back to the country, Teymouri said.

This association [AATTAI] is more active in the field of outbound tourism rather than inbound, the official noted.

“We do not currently have accurate statistics on cancellation of inbound tours. Therefore, further investigation is needed. I don't know where the figure of 70% comes from. We've [already] had a lot of these issues, like Americans leaving BARJAM [an Iranian acronym for 2015 Iran nuclear deal with world powers, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], and the flight of American drones [around Iran],” he explained.

Teymouri said it is normal that a number of [inbound] tours have been called off [over the past days due to the recent security concerns] but [the tourism sector of] the country has so far overcome all of these.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official pointed to the upcoming Tehran International Tourism Exhibition, saying representatives and exhibitors from thirty countries have been invited to take part at the fair.

Iran’s tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan has said the country’s tourism sector has suffered a major setback but it will certainly return to “normal”.

“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.

“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.”

Iran’s flag carrier Iran Air announced on Monday that there are no changes in the flag carrier’s regular schedule for flights to European countries and vice versa, except the ones to Sweden, which have recently come to a halt. The announcement was made amid rumors flying about the major airline canceling some of its European services due to the tragic crash.

A view of Azadi (Freedom) Tower in western Tehran.

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 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.

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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