By Afshin Majlesi

Iran’s trump cards to kick-start tourism in post-COVID-19 world

June 1, 2020 - 19:9

TEHRAN – As you are well aware, the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has plunged the travel and tourism industry in the global scene, disrupting life in ways that were unimaginable just a few months ago.

The images of the world’s lockdown are spooky with amazing alterations; passenger traffic on airlines and hotel occupancy rates have fallen off a cliff compared to the same periods in previous years.

Almost 100 million travel-related jobs have been eliminated or will be. However, many nations are planning to fuel a boom in the battered sector once travel is more feasible. Some experts believe that the world will never be the same once the pandemic finally recedes. But at some point, a large number of travel industries are seeking to reach more customers online and people will start going out again.

A potential world-class destination, Iran is also expected to bounce back quickly once the virus passes because ingredients are all present; pristine natural beauties, magnificent historical sites, and fascinating cultural experiences and above all, welcoming hospitable people.

Trump cards? Well, it doesn’t matter the taste, the ancient land can be a top choice of many foreign tourists who are fans of camping and eco-tours or enthusiasts of historical sites. For those who want to experience something completely new and exciting, visiting or staying with nomads is recommended. Accommodation in Iran varies from luxurious five-star hotels to camping in the middle of the jungle!

From another point of view, the cultural legacy of this nation is one of the most mesmerizing on Earth. Iran is a true delight for history buffs as well. If you’re drawn to places where echoes of ancient civilizations resonate down through the ages, Iran could be your thing. The UNESCO-tagged Persepolis, an ancient city that served as the Achaemenid Empire’s ceremonial capital roughly 2500 years ago, is just a short trip northeast from Shiraz, while the Empire’s winter capital, Hamedan is still populated today!

There’s a truly massive array of activities available throughout the country - visitors can go skiing in various resorts northward the capital Tehran; Sunbathe on white-sand beaches in southern Hormozgan province, and explore lush forests in its northern provinces, or wandering through labyrinthine bazaars, captivating mosques, and Zoroastrian temples that are dotted in abundance throughout the country.

Iran is a treasure house for some of the most gorgeous Islamic architecture on the planet. Seemingly at every turn, Islam’s historical commitment to aesthetic beauty and exquisite architecture reigns supreme. The sublime, turquoise-tiled domes and minarets of Isfahan’s Naqsh-e Jahan (Imam) Square gets so many appreciative gasps of wonder, and rightly so, but there are utterly magnificent rivals elsewhere, in Yazd and Shiraz among others.

Regarding its people, Iranians are world-famous for being courteous, warm, friendly, welcoming, and eager to show off their country to foreigners. Foreign travelers are continuously astounded by the warmth of Iranians, treated with nothing but sparkling smiles and offers of help of any kind.

Being wallet-friendly? Last year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Iran first in the world as a pocket-friendly destination. “Iran ranks 1st globally [in the category of Price Competitiveness], thanks to low ticket taxes and airport charges (7th), fuel prices (5th), and high purchasing power (5th),” according to WEF’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019.

A safe country to visit; the matter of security is essentially considered as a complex question for many foreigners willing to visit a host country.

When it comes to media outlets, in particular, some Western ones, Iran is a country that is often portrayed as unwelcoming. However, many visitors to the Islamic Republic describe it as one of the safest countries they’ve ever been to. The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, puts Iran among countries with “insignificant risk”, a category where the UK, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, and Finland are placed in.

Iran 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.

AFM/MG

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