Centuries of friendship: Iranian travel insiders mark Chinese Spring Festival online  

February 17, 2021 - 21:11

TEHRAN – For the third consecutive year, a host of Iranian travel insiders mark the Chinese Spring Festival during an online campaign named “Centuries of Friendship; the Third Chinese Spring Festival in Iran”.

Apart from the goal of strengthening cultural ties, the event is expected to refresh the name of Iran in the memory of the tourism market of China, Mohammad Qasemi, the director for marketing and advertising at the tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

“The campaign, which is currently underway, seeks to highlight the name of Iran to attract more travelers from China,” he said.

With records of some 170 million outbound tourists per annum, the massive travel market of China could have a major effect on Iran’s tourism industry during the post-coronavirus era, the official added.

Various videos and online programs promoting Iranian tourist attractions in the Chinese language have been prepared and have been uploaded on different tourism and cultural sites, he explained.

The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the world to a standstill, and tourism has been the worst affected of all major economic sectors.

Back in March, the UN specialized agency for tourism announced that it expected international tourist arrivals would be down by 20 percent to 30 percent in 2020 when compared with 2019 figures.

However, earlier this month the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced that world tourist arrivals fell by 72% over the first ten months of the year.

Restrictions on travel, low consumer confidence, and a global struggle to contain the coronavirus pandemic are amongst factors contributing to the worst year on record in the history of tourism.

Iran has also suffered the same fate as its foreign arrivals plunged 72% during the first eight months of the year when compared to 2019.

Critical situation

Last 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.

Mounesan in August 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 tourism industry of the country was growing and progressing well but unfortunately, it has faced the coronavirus outbreak, which brought the industry into a standstill.”

“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.

The 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.”

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

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.

ABU/AFM

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