Iran could become hub for ‘vaccine tourism’: minister

May 24, 2021 - 20:27

TEHRAN – Iran has the potential to become a destination for vaccine tourism regarding considerable efforts the country is making to develop series of domestic COVID-19 vaccines, the tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan has said.

“There is a capacity to add ‘vaccine tourism’ to the ‘health tourism basket’ of the country after all [Iranian] people are received vaccines…. and the move could fuel a boom in the tourism sector of the country.”

“In the near future, we will possess the capacity to provide foreigner travelers with the COVID-19 vaccine, especially those from the neighboring countries,” Mounesan said.

The Islamic Republic is among the first countries which started developing a vaccine against coronavirus, and now four companies are endeavoring to release their products by September and inoculate the whole population. Out of 16 vaccine production cases, four cases have received a code of ethics and are undergoing clinical trial; it is hoped that another three to four cases will succeed in receiving license by September.

According to available data compiled by the tourism ministry, the number of foreign visitors to Iran plunged 94% in the first nine months of the past Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2021) as the coronavirus pandemic takes a heavy toll on the tourism industry.

The coronavirus epidemic has ruined more than 1.5 million jobs in Iran’s travel sector, tourism minister Ali-Asghar Mounesan said in December. “Over 1.5 million jobs have been lost in the tourism sector of Iran due to the COVID-19 disease…. Many of the tourism-insiders are now unemployed or they are staying at home,” according to Mounesan.

Tourism [industry of Iran] was growing before the corona [outbreak], its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, near the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent, the minister explained.

The ancient land embraces hundreds of historical sites 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, the country aims to increase the number of tourist arrivals from 4.8 million in 2014 to 20 million in 2025.

AFM

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