UNWTO meeting: Iran outlines measures to help tourism recover from COVID-19

July 3, 2020 - 18:17

TEHRAN – Iran took part in a virtual seminar of the United Nations World Tourism Organization on Wednesday, outlining measures the country has taken so far to prop up the travel industry since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The 32nd Joint Meeting of the UNWTO Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the Commission for South Asia (32nd CAP-CSA) which had been planned to be held in Sri Lanka this year was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri addressed the meeting, saying that managing the psychological impact [caused by the virus pandemic], and defining [health] protocols for those who are active in the field of tourism on how to deal with the virus, trying to meet public demand, gradually reopening tourism facilities, and preparing government support packages were among the most important measures.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the official attached great importance to synergy and cooperation between member states as a need to put an end to this global recession.

“Maintaining the spirit of cooperation between countries, as well as adhering to the goals of tourism, respecting the principles of ‘responsible tourism’ and taking trustworthy measures are among the necessities for the tourism industry to overcome this the global recession.”

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili and tourism officials from some 30 regional countries attended the webinar which also discussed realms of tourism-related investment, innovation, and technology.

 The meeting was wrapped up by calling on both the public and the private sector to collaborate and share experience to boost tourism as a catalyst for sustainable development in the region.

Last month, Pololikashvili, in a letter to tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan, praised Iran’s efforts made to manage the travel industry during the pandemic. “A series of measures that the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Iran has taken, following the guidelines and recommendations of UNWTO, has truly earned plaudits as an effective practice to mitigate the impact on tourism,” a segment of the message reads.

Some 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.

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. 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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