Tourist cities not to return to pre-coronavirus levels until 2027, expert says

March 2, 2021 - 21:34

TEHRAN – The Iranian tourist cities and some others in the world will not return to the way they were before the outbreak of the coronavirus until 2027, a senior advisor to Isfahan Chamber of Commerce has said.

Though a tourism-based economy is expected to replace the oil-reliant economy, tourism is still not a priority in the country’s plans, which is one of the challenges of investing in this field, ISNA quoted Ali Karbasizadeh as saying on Tuesday. 

Elsewhere in his remarks, the advisor lamented that the budget Iran spends on advertising and marketing in its tourism arena is not adequate.

“Although many countries such as Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, and many others spend massive budgets for tourism marketing, Iran is lacking proper funding for advertising and marketing in the tourism arena, he explained.

Talking about the future of tourism in his hometown, Isfahan, he reminded that the development of Isfahan’s tourism in this complicated situation requires very careful planning, as well as an ongoing marketing and branding campaign.  

Back in January, the Head of the Iranian Tour Operators Association Ebrahim Pourfaraj said that the tourist flow from across the world to Iran will return to normal in 2022.

Although there are requests for traveling to Iran in the current year (2021), most travel agencies and tour operators believe that the flow will go back to normal in the next year, he added.

He also noted that beginning mass vaccination against the coronavirus will provide better and safe conditions for international travels in 2022.

Last November, the World Tourism Organization announced that international tourist arrivals to Iran plunged 72% during the first eight months of 2020 when compared to 2019, highlighting the severe impact of COVID-19 as the main factor.

Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan in October 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.

Soaked in a rich history and culture, Isfahan was once a crossroads of international trade and diplomacy in Iran. Now, it is one of Iran’s top tourist destinations for good reasons. The ancient city is filled with many architectural wonders such as unmatched Islamic buildings, bazaars, museums, Persian gardens, and tree-lined boulevards. It’s a city for walking, getting lost in its mazing bazaars, dozing in beautiful gardens, and meeting people.

The city has long been nicknamed as Nesf-e-Jahan which is translated into “half the world”; meaning seeing it is relevant to see the whole world. In its heyday, it was also one of the largest cities in the region with a population of nearly one million.

Isfahan is renowned not only for the abundance of great historical bridges but also for its ‘life-giving river’, the Zayandeh-Rood, which has long bestowed the city an original beauty and fertility. The cool blue tiles of Isfahan’s Islamic buildings, and the city’s majestic bridges, contrast perfectly with the encircling hot, dry Iranian countryside.

The huge Imam Square, best known as Naghsh-e Jahan Sq. (literary meaning “Image of the World”), is one of the largest in the world (500m by 160m), and a majestic example of town planning. Built in the early 17th century, the UNESCO-registered square is punctuated with the most interesting sights in Isfahan.

Modern Isfahan is now home to some heavy industry, including steel factories and a nuclear facility on its outskirts, however, its inner core wants to be preserved as a priceless gem.

ABU/AFM

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