Coronavirus: outbound travels slump by 85% during Iranian New Year holiday

April 9, 2021 - 18:43

TEHRAN – Iran’s outbound travels fell by 85 percent during the New Year (Noruz) holiday (March 21-April 4) compared with two years earlier, according to the head of the Association of Iranian Travel Agencies.

“International travels made by Iranian nationals slump some 85 percent during Noruz holiday in comparison to the same period in the year 1398,” IRIB quoted Hormatollah Rafiei, the head of the association, as saying on Friday.

Oversees tours and trips were not welcomed by Iranians this Noruz due to both the coronavirus restrictions and economic hardship so that many passenger flights to foreign countries, including Turkey, were semi-empty, Rafiei said.

He, however, did not provide any data on the number of outbound travelers, adding “Last year, almost all borders were closed to (potential) travelers due to strict coronavirus lockdown.”

Experts believe that whenever the disease is contained, the tourism industry begins to flourish once again. The Islamic Republic of Iran, which is home to countless travel destinations, is among those highly suffered from the pandemic when it comes to tourism. The average of international travels to and from the country fell by 84 percent during the first nine months of the past Iranian calendar year (ended on March 20, 2021) from a year earlier.

Besides, according to Vali Teymouri, the deputy tourism minister, the number of domestic travels fell by 96 percent during the two-week holidays compared to two years earlier.

According to the latest data Iranians made some 2.5 million overnight stays across the country during the Noruz holidays, while the number added up to over 74 million in the same period in 1398 (March 21-April 2, 2019), which shows a drastic fall, Teymouri explained last week.

It seems many people have postponed, rescheduled, or even delayed their travel plans to help limit the spread of the coronavirus around the country, the official added.

Back in January Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan announced that Iran’s tourism industry has suffered a loss of over 140 trillion rials (about $3.33 billion at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 has brought the whole world to a standstill, the tourism industry has been the worst affected of all economic sectors, he explained.

However, efforts are being made by the government to help the tourism sector flourish again with continuous support and injecting supportive packages, the minister said.  

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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