Intl. travels fall by 80% in Iran due to coronavirus

May 15, 2021 - 18:52

TEHRAN – The average of international travels to and from Iran fell by 80 percent during the past Iranian calendar year 1399 (ended on March 20, 2021) from a year earlier.

“During this period, 4,343,163 passengers entered the country, which included 3,030,464 Iranian passengers and 512,699 international travelers,” Mehr quoted Arezou Ghaniun, an official with the Islamic Republic of Iran's Customs Administration, as saying on Saturday.

“From the beginning of 1399 to the end of it, we saw a significant reduction in passenger traffic to the country or vice versa in land, sea, rail and air borders, which were caused by various coronavirus restrictions.”

International tourist arrivals to Iran plunged 72% during the first eight months of the year when compared to 2019, according to data compiled by the World Tourism Organization. Restrictions on travel introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to hit global tourism hard, with the latest data from the UNWTO showing a 70% fall in international arrivals for the first eight months of 2020.

Iran, however, has experienced different rates of downfall for inbound passengers over the past months. In the first three months of 2020 (January, February, March), the tourism industry of the country recorded negative rates of 90, 92, and 94 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year, according to the organization.

The fall reached 96 and 97 percent in April and May. And in June, a negative 84% was recorded. But the interesting point in the statistics published by the World Tourism Organization is a steep slope of the improvement of Iran’s tourism arrivals during the last two months, as such growth has leaped 35% in July and August.

Optimistic forecasts, expect the country would 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.

According to the newest UNWTO Barometer, international arrivals plunged 81% in July and 79% in August, traditionally the two busiest months of the year and the peak of the Northern Hemisphere summer season. The drop until August represents 700 million fewer arrivals compared to the same period in 2019 and translates into a loss of US$ 730 billion in export revenues from international tourism. This is more than eight times the loss experienced on the back of the 2009 global economic and financial crisis.

“This unprecedented decline is having dramatic social and economic consequences, and puts millions of jobs and businesses at risk,” warned UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili. “This underlines the urgent need to safely restart tourism, in a timely and coordinated manner”.

UNWTO’s Panel of Experts foresees a rebound in international tourism in the current year, mostly in the third quarter. However, some experts suggest the rebound could occur only in 2022.

Travel restrictions are seen as the main barrier standing in the way of the recovery of international tourism, along with slow virus containment and low consumer confidence. The lack of coordinated response among countries to ensure harmonized protocols and coordinated restrictions, as well as the deteriorating economic environment, were also identified by experts as important obstacles for recovery.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 24 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Under the 2025 Tourism Vision Plan, Iran aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.


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