Coronavirus causes $64m damage to Markazi province tourism

March 15, 2021 - 20:24

TEHRAN – The tourism industry of Markazi province has taken some 2.7 trillion rials ($64.2 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) hit from the coronavirus outbreak over the past year, the provincial tourism chief said on Monday. 

Even though there has been major damage, only 460 billion rials ($10.9) has been paid to the corona-affected businesses so far across the province, Mostafa Marzban announced.

However, the province’s accommodation centers and historical sites are prepared to receive tourists and travelers during the New Year holidays, which begins on March 21, the official added. 

He also noted that the province’s historical sites and museums could also be visited on virtual tours, which are being offered for those who will stay home during the holidays due to the coronavirus outbreak. 

Markazi province is considered the industrial capital of the country. It is rich in natural, historical, cultural, and religious attractions.

Hand-woven carpets and kilims, made in its cities including Farahan, Sarugh, Lilivan, Senejan, and Vafs are known internationally.

Tourism industry in critical situation

Tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan in October warned that Iran’s cultural heritage and tourism would be in a critical situation if the crises caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus continue.

Last August, the tourism minister said that the tourism sector of the Islamic Republic had suffered a loss of 12 trillion rials (some $2.85 billion) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

He also noted that 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.

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).

ABU/AFM
 

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