Coronavirus causes $42m damage to Iran’s museums

November 1, 2020 - 19:57

TEHRAN - Iranian museums have taken 1.7 trillion rials (some $42 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) hit from the coronavirus outbreak over the previous months.

The museums in Tehran and most of the provinces across the country will remain closed for the fifth consecutive week for their extremely severe situation due to the coronavirus pandemic, ILNA quoted Mohammadreza Kargar, the director of museums and historical properties at the tourism ministry, as saying on Saturday. 

It is also expected that the continued closure of museums will last at least to the end of the current Iranian month of Aban (November 20), the official added.

If the country was in normal condition, the museums would host over 25 million visitors, but now they have faced a huge loss as there is almost no visitor to the museums, he noted.

Last week, Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan warned that Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism will be in a critical situation if the crises caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus continue.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus, museums were at the forefront of closures and for several months now, they have not had any revenue from the sale of tickets, Mounesan explained.

Meanwhile, the ministry is facing a shortage of funds in the field of cultural heritage, which causes problems for maintaining and preserving 34,000 National Heritage properties as well as 24 UNESCO-tagged sites, the official explained.

It was estimated that museums would earn about 300 billion rials (about $7.1 million) in the first quarter of the year, but over the coronavirus pandemic they did not even come close to this figure, he added.

In July, Mounesan said that revenues from museums 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.

The minister said in August that Iran’s tourism has suffered a loss of 12 trillion rials (some $2.85 billion) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

ABU/MG

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