Some $3.5m paid to support tourism businesses in Golestan 

May 8, 2021 - 13:7

TEHRAN – The Iranian government has paid some 147 billion rials ($3.5 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) in loans to the tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic as well as floods in the northern province of Golestan. 

Furthermore, the changing scene of tourism, ceremonies, exhibitions, and festivals have contributed to the level of handicrafts sales since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the provincial tourism chief Ahmad Tajari said on Tuesday. 

Travel-relates businesses were also severely damaged when the province was hit hard by catastrophic floods during the Iranian New Year holidays in March 2019, he added. 

Golestan is reportedly embracing some 2,500 historical and natural sites, with UNESCO-registered Gonbad-e Qabus – a one-millennium-old brick tower – amongst its most famous. Narratives say the tower has influenced various subsequent designers of tomb towers and other cylindrical commemorative structures both in the region and beyond. The UNESCO comments that the tower bears testimony to the cultural exchange between Central Asian nomads and the ancient civilization of Iran.

Government’s care and support packages

Last October, the deputy tourism chief, Vali Teymouri, announced that a new support package was approved to pay loans to businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Depending on the type and activity of the businesses, they could benefit from at least 160 million rials ($3,800 at the official rate of 42,000 rials) to nine billion rials ($214,000) of bank loans with a 12-percent interest rate, he said.

The loans would be allocated to tourist guides, travel agencies, tourism transport companies, tourism educational institutions, eco-lodges and traditional accommodations, hotels, apartment hotels, motels, and guesthouses as well as traditional accommodation centers, tourism complexes, and recreational centers, the official explained.

Teymouri in September pointed to the 1.3 million tourism workers in the country, who are facing several issues due to the coronavirus crisis and said “This number, in addition to their households, includes a significant population that makes a living through tourism, who are needed to be considered in ministry’s decisions.”

Teymouri in August announced that the tourism ministry had approved a total budget of 4,920 billion rials (over $117 million) to support corona-affected tourism businesses, covering as much as 36,000 people working in the tourism sector.

ABU/AFM

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