Governments should change approach toward tourism in post-corona world, travel expert says

July 17, 2020 - 22:30

TEHRAN – Governments need to redefine their approaches toward the tourism industry in order to reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the travel industry as well as the economy, CHTN quoted a travel expert as saying on Friday.

“At the beginning of the pandemic, tourism workers and experts estimated that the world’s tourism would be in a complete recession by the end of the year 2020 and even maybe in 2021.”

But over time, the unique capacity of tourism and travel industries and their role as the driving force of the countries’ economies became more prominent, the expert noted.

“Governments are now trying to get their tourism industry on the right track sooner with new definitions as well as new marketing policies.”

The travel expert also suggested that in this regard, the tourism industry needs to gain the trust of tourists, provide motivation and increase the acceleration of marketing, fast and coordinated activities for marketing, invest in smart business systems and digital marketing as well as support businesses and consider economic support packages offered by the government by prioritizing the health of tourists.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought travel to a standstill nearly all over the globe, including Iran, causing huge job and revenue losses.

The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Director Gloria Guevara announced late in February that the global outbreak of the new coronavirus, known as COVID-19, will cost world tourism at least $22 billion owing to a drop in spending by Chinese tourists.

Iran’s tourism suffered several times over the past year Persian year (ended March 20) from various upheavals including the U.S. sanctions aimed to cripple Iran’s economy, flash floods in March 2019, the [mistakenly] downing of a Ukrainian jetliner in January, and ultimately the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

However, apart from the expenses and their certain effects, many 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.

Some 6.7 million foreign nationals visited Iran during the first nine months of the past Iranian calendar year, started March 21, 2019, according to data announced by the Foreign Ministry’s visa and passport department. Iran welcomed some 7.8 million foreign nationals a year earlier, achieving a 52.5 percent increase year on year.

In April, the Iranian government announced it will bail out those which are grappling with fiscal problems by offering loans with a 12-percent interest rate. The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts also suggested a rescue package for tourism businesses.

The government has also allocated a 750-trillion-rial (about $18 billion) package to help low-income households and small- and medium-sized enterprises suffered by the coronavirus concerns.

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).


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