Persian New Year: tourism ministry proposes models for domestic travels

February 19, 2021 - 20:5

TEHRAN – With a month to go till the start of the Iranian New Year, which has long been associated with millions of domestic travels, the Iranian tourism minister wants to find a way to partially revive the already-slumped travels in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The tourism ministry has held several meetings with the National Headquarters for the Coronavirus Control during with we discussed the issues in detail. Based on our strategies, we proposed two travel models that can be implemented following health protocols in the country,” ISNA quoted Vali Teymouri, the deputy tourism minister, as saying on Thursday.

The first [working] model for travels in the Iranian New Year, proposes travels by the means of package tours.

“Throughout package tours, travelers benefit from services provided by the tour and they will definitely stay in authorized accommodation centers [and destinations] which are under the supervision of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts,” the official explained.

For the second model, people do not go on tours, but when traveling to their destination city, they must stay in authorized accommodation centers, which are under the supervision of the ministry, to comply with all health protocols and maintain public health, Teymouri explained.

Any other form of accommodation would be prohibited to curb the virus, he said.

“To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Noruz 1400, the establishment of tourist camps, camping, tourists staying in places such as schools, shrines, husseiniyahs, etc. is prohibited, and this issue has been announced to the provincial governors.”

The arteria of Noruz travels is expected to be announced in detail during the upcoming exhibition for tourism and handicrafts, which will be held in near future, he said.

Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan publicized in November that mass, unplanned travels are not approved. “The outbreak of the coronavirus has caused damage to the tourism industry in Iran and [other parts of] the world in such a way that according to statistics, 50 million people are directly and indirectly exposed to unemployment due to the virus spread in the global scene…. yet, mass or unplanned and irresponsible travels are not approved to take place during the coronavirus era.”

Smart and responsible traveling should replace "do not travel” recommendations, the minister stressed, adding: “In our country, Corona has caused problems in the tourism industry and the worrying point is the continuation of this trend.”

“We are well aware of what the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control proclaims [the health protocols], hence as a proposal, we have formulated some smart, responsible travel packages by the implementation of which we could have secure travels,” the minister said.

He has repeatedly announced that his ministry is in full coordination with the Ministry of Health for strictly implementing health protocols in travel destinations, hospitably centers, and museums, amongst others, underlining that “people’s health is our priority.”

Tourism [industry of Iran] was growing before the corona [outbreak], its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, near the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent, the minister explained.

Iranians traditionally make hundreds of thousands of domestic trips during the New Year holidays, when most businesses and workplaces are closed, as are schools.

AFM/

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