Museums lose 90% of revenues in wake of coronavirus outbreak 

August 3, 2020 - 21:0

TEHRAN- Iranian museums have lost 90 percent of their revenues due to the consecutive closures caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, Mohammadreza Kargar, the tourism ministry’s director of museums and historical properties, has said. 

The country closed cultural heritage museums and historical sites across the country in a preventive measure amid fears of coronavirus outbreak back in February, but as the coronavirus lockdown was eased, they were reopened in early May.

However, due to a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections and deaths, museums and all art and cultural centers, universities, schools, seminaries, English schools, libraries, movie theaters, mosques, beauty salons, and several other entities had gone on lockdown once again in late July. 

After a weeklong halt, museums in Tehran and some other provinces reopened their doors to the public. 

It is almost about six months that the country is fighting the coronavirus outbreak, and during this time the number of foreign tourists, who are mostly the main visitors of the museums, have drastically fallen, Kargar added, ILNA reported on Monday. 

He also noted that online visits and virtual tours of the museums could compensate parts of the damages. 

During the Iranian New Year (Noruz) holidays in late March, some museums and tourist sites arranged online visits and virtual tours for the people who were in-home quarantine.

The virtual tours were extended for the following months and a number of people explored centuries-old objects at museums as well as tourist attractions across the country.

Back in June, Kargar announced that Iranian museums and historical sites have taken 600 billion rials (about $14.2 million) hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

Last month, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan announced that revenues from museums and historical sites were almost eight billion rials (about $190,000) during the first three months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 20), a sharp decline compared to around 300 billion rials (over $7 million) in the same period last year.

He also noted that most of the income is spent on preserving the historical sites and museums, but due to the closure of the sites, the ministry is facing a challenge in maintaining these places.

Several provinces including Bushehr, Hormozgan, and Zanjan have extended the closure of their museums and some historical sites as they are on the red risk zone.


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