Health ministry approves responsible tourism plan

September 6, 2020 - 16:31

TEHRAN – The health ministry has approved the tourism ministry’s proposed plan on responsible tourism for safe traveling during the coronavirus pandemic.

“In fact, such kind of the trips will not endanger people’s health or create additional problems for the medical staff,” Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said on Saturday.

The health ministry is of the opinion that traveling on a large scale without supervision and proper planning causes the spread of the coronavirus, he added. 

Therefore, the tourism ministry and the health ministry are emphasizing that the trips should be done under the supervision of the two ministries, Mounesan noted.

On Wednesday he said that people’s health is the ministry’s top priority and the ministry is in full coordination with the Ministry of Health, which is at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus.

“One of the solutions that can help us in the time of coronavirus is adopting smart travels or responsible travels.”

The minister also announced that the tourism ministry is planning for issuing visas for foreign group tours.

Foreign tourists need to provide proof they have tested negative for coronavirus to gain entry, and they need to follow health protocols while they stay in the country and they are allowed to visit tourism centers and facilities under the supervision of this ministry, which fully complies with health protocols, he explained.

Last month, Mounesan proclaimed: “If the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic is contained, all the tourism businesses across the country will have the capacity to fully resume their activities both in domestic and foreign markets.”

“Many tourism projects have been completed, or are being implemented, showing that a very good capacity has been created in the field of tourism in the country and [this trend] should not be stopped,” he explained.

According to Mounesan, 2,451 tourism-related projects worth 1,370 trillion rials (around $32 billion) are currently being implemented across the country that “signals a prosperous future for Iran’s tourism sector.”

In August, the tourism minister said the coronavirus pandemic should not bring traveling to a complete standstill. “Corona is a fact, but can the virus stop tourism? Certainly not. For us, the coronavirus is a new experience in dealing with crises that teaches tourism experts around the world how to deal with such a disaster, and thankfully governments are turning this into an opportunity for better planning.”

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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