Coronavirus causes $59m damage to Hamedan’s tourism

January 24, 2021 - 17:3

TEHRAN –The tourism industry of the west-central province of Hamedan has taken some 2.48 trillion rials ($59 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) hit from the coronavirus outbreak over the past couple of months.

As the Persian New Year (Noruz) holidays is the golden time for the tourism sector, if the restrictions and lockdown continue to the next Iranian year 1400 (starting March 20), irreparable damage will be done to this sector, the provincial tourism chief Ali Malmir said on Saturday.

Accommodation centers, hotels, restaurants, and halls have suffered major damages during the time as well, the official added.

Back in December, the official announced that the Iranian government has paid 70 billion rials (about $1.7 million) in loans to the tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the province.

He also noted that there are 180 hotels, apartment hotels, eco-lodge units, and travel agencies across the province, which generate jobs for a total of 2,000 people.

In late October, deputy tourism chief Vali Teymouri said that a new support package to pay loans to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic was approved by Iran’s National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control.

He also announced that depending on the type and activity of the businesses, they could benefit from at least 160 million rials (some $3,800) to nine billion rials (some $214,000) of bank loans with a 12-percent interest rate.

The loans would be allocated to tourist guides, travel agencies, tourism transport companies, tourism educational institutions, eco-lodges and traditional accommodations, hotels, apartment hotels, motels, and guesthouses as well as traditional accommodation centers, tourism complexes, and recreational centers, the official explained.

In September, Teymouri said that around 1.3 million tourism workers in the country were facing problems due to the coronavirus crisis.

In October, 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.

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

The government has allocated a 750-trillion-rial (about $18 billion) package to help low-income households and small- and medium-sized enterprises suffered from coronavirus concerns.

Optimistic forecasts, however, expect Iran to achieve a tourism boom after coronavirus is contained, believing its impact would be temporary and short-lived for a country that ranked the third fastest-growing tourism destination in 2019.

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).


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