Hotels offering discounts instead of raising prices

September 5, 2020 - 23:13

TEHRAN – While the hospitality industry has taken a severe hit from the coronavirus pandemic on both national and international levels, hotels are offering discounts to attract travelers.

Although the prices of Iranian hotels increase in late September every year, this year due to the outbreak of the coronavirus hotels are offering up to 60 percent discounts instead of raising their fares, the president of the Iranian Hoteliers Association said on Saturday.

However, with these amounts of discounts, the occupancy rate of hotels is less than five to seven percent, Jamshid Hamzehzadeh announced on Saturday.

Considering the number of tourists and travelers, which has decreased drastically, increasing hotel fares does not make sense and will not increase the income of hoteliers, he added.   

He also noted that if the hotel fare increases, it will be up to 20 percent, but most hotel owners are not interested in increasing it due to lack of passengers.

Back in June, the official announced that the outbreak of the new coronavirus has inflicted a loss of 60,000 billion rials (about $1.4 billion at the official dollar rate of 42,000 rials) on the Iranian hospitality industry in four months.

“Hoteliers in different provinces of the country have suffered 60,000 billion rials in damage over the past four months following the outbreak of coronavirus [which put a pause on the travel industry to help curb the disease].”

He said that the country’s tourism industry suffered some 100 percent losses from the pandemic, adding “Part of this loss and damage must be compensated by the government.”

Back 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.

However, earlier last week, the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan announced that over 2,400 tourism-related projects, including the construction of 500 hotels, are currently being implemented across the country with a total estimated cost of 1,370 trillion rials (around $32 billion).

He also noted that responsible tourism is a workable solution for holidaymakers to get assured of safe traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

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).

ABU/MG

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