Tourism projects worth $255m inaugurated nationwide

September 25, 2020 - 21:15

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated 87 tourism projects worth 10.67 trillion rials (about $255 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) across the country during a ceremony through video conference on Thursday.

Implemented in 15 provinces of Gilan, Khorasan Razavi, Yazd, Fars, Mazandaran, Ardebil, Kermanshah, East Azarbaijan, Bushehr, South Khorasan, Khuzestan, Qazvin, Markazi, Golestan, and Tehran, the projects will generate over 1,700 job opportunities.

The mentioned projects include accommodation centers such as hotels and apartment hotels, tourist complexes, traditional restaurants, and eco-lodge units.

On the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony, the president referred to the country’s rich history and cultural heritage, saying, “We need to invite people of the world to see these great works and know what a great history this nation has had.”

“No matter how many history books are read, it won’t replace seeing beautiful and magnificent works in Iran’s tourism hubs in Isfahan, Shiraz, Yazd, Tabriz and other cities,” he added.

A 20-room hotel apartment in Tehran with an investment of 800 billion rials ($19 million) was also inaugurated by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan during the ceremony.

The number of the accommodation centers has increased by 50 percent over the past seven years, while over 2,000 eco-lodge units have come on stream over the same period of time, which leads to economic prosperity and creating jobs in rural areas, the minister mentioned.

He also noted that some eight million foreign nationals visited Iran during the previous Iranian calendar year 1398 (ended March 20), however, the outbreak of the coronavirus in the last two months of that year brought everything into a halt.

Back in August, the minister announced that Iran’s travel sector has suffered a loss of 12 trillion rials (some $2.85 billion) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, however, he mentioned that 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.

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

The tourism minister also 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.”

Some experts believe that the coronavirus pandemic may turn tours and travels into luxury items as observing health protocols will raise the cost of travel in the country. 

Mohammad Ali Vaqefi, the vice president of the Iranian Tour Operators Association, warned earlier in June that with the continuation of the coronavirus outbreak, tourists may prefer individual travel rather than tours, adding that they may also choose to go on a trip by their vehicles and stay in tents or in nature instead of hotels.

In the global scene, part of the new travel puzzle is the jet-set mindset focusing on tough hygiene care and social distancing as cardinal guidelines for slowing the spread of the virus. So the average expenditure will be raised for a typical traveler particularly inbound passengers so lesser ones can afford to buy privacy and space and safer travel amenities.

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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