No restrictions for organizing package tours: deputy minister

May 31, 2020 - 18:44

TEHRAN – Iran’s deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri has said that the ministry sees no restrictions for organizing package tours by travel agencies as far as health protocols to curb the coronavirus are observed.

“There are no restrictions on planning, organizing, and conducting [package] tours by the private sector,” Teymouri said on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the tourism ministry in close collaboration with the ministry of health developed comprehensive guidelines and instructions to improve health standards in hotels, guest houses, eco-lodge units, tourist destinations, transport facilities, recreational centers, and restaurants.

“All processes in the field of tourism are based on a ‘smart’ travel protocol and are in compliance with health regulations,” the official stated.

Deputy Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Vali Teymouri speaks in an undated photo.

“The smart travel protocol states what considerations a hotel, agency, or tour guide should follow. It’s as if accommodation units need to focus more on renting one-bedroom than two-bedroom. Or if the hotel has been closed until now, with what considerations will it start working and under what conditions will it accept passengers. These cases are detailed in the present protocol we should revise its articles using the opinion of the relevant organizations.”

Regarding foreign arrivals, the official noted: “According to the consultations with the national headquarters to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and other relevant cross-sectoral agencies, the specific time and mechanism for the entry of international tourists will be announced soon.”

He believes that international tourism could be recovered soon “because it is mostly relying on potential travelers and pilgrims from the neighboring countries.”

Talking to the Tehran Times, Teymouri said the tourism industry of Iran will get back on the right track sooner than expected thanks to measures taken to tackle the spread of coronavirus.

“I believe that tourism industry of the country will get back on the right track far sooner than generally expected thanks to the measures taken to deal with the spread of coronavirus in tourist destinations, hotels, stopovers, and all the centers which are affiliated with the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.”

Titled ‘The Smart Travel Protocol (Travel + Health)’, it has been widely welcomed by travel professionals and tourism stakeholders for being very effective in recovering and stimulating domestic tourism, Teymouri explained.

Domestic experts expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.

Iran expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 24 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, it aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

The latest available data show eight million tourists visited the Islamic Republic during the first ten months of the past Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2019).

AFM/MG

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