By Afshin Majlesi

Ideas for traveling to Iran in coronavirus era

September 6, 2021 - 19:21

It goes without saying that the novel coronavirus has dramatically affected our lives and economy in nearly every corner of the globe. Its variants have even taken a bigger toll on traveling with an employment drop of millions.

The coronavirus is still spreading across the Islamic Republic as the Health Ministry reported 27,579 new cases on Monday and 583 daily deaths. Total deaths have reached 111,257, according to official figures.

Here, measures and limitations are still in place, including temporary closure of non-essential businesses, travel and religious destinations, and cancellation of some public events.

It is now obligatory to wear face masks in enclosed public places, and one may incur a fine if they do not comply. Each province is authorized to introduce lockdown and restriction of movement to control, prevent and combat the disease.

Currently, entry is permitted for anyone holding an Iranian passport or a valid visa. All incoming passengers, regardless of their vaccination status, are required to hold a valid health certificate, issued by the health authorities of the country of departure. This must contain a COVID-19 molecular test performed by an approved center of the departure country, carried out within 96 hours of entry into the country.

Non-nationals without a medical certificate will be denied entry or will be quarantined in places provided by the Ministry of Health. Iranian nationals without such a certificate will be pledged to stay at home and self-isolate or being directed to quarantine locations for two weeks.

Furthermore, all passengers will be retested on arrival if they are coming from or have transited with a stay of more than four hours through these countries of Andorra, Argentina, Botswana, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Fiji, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Libya, Lithuania, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Tunisia, United Kingdom, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Over the past couple of months, panels of travel experts have discussed new marketing strategies to lift tourism that is grounded by the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

In an interview with the Tehran Times, Vali Teymouri, the deputy tourism minister, explained how the sector is adopting limitations, as he stressed the need to re-analyze target markets, redefine tourism products and improve the level of e-services.

“We need to revise marketing strategies, and to redefine tourism products by paying great attention to nature tours, rural tourism, ecotourism, agricultural tourism as a tool to empower local communities and travel businesses.”

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts has announced mass, unplanned travels are not approved. “Smart and responsible traveling should replace ‘do not travel’ recommendations.”

Meanwhile, it has repeatedly publicized its full coordination with the Ministry of Health for strictly implementing health protocols when it is needed, noting “people’s health is our priority.”

Earlier this year, the Head of the Iranian Tour Operators Association Ebrahim Pourfaraj asked the government to issue tourist visas for the international applicants who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. “The Ministry of Health and the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control can at least agree that the international tourists who have received the [second dose of] coronavirus vaccine would be allowed to enter Iran.”

The expert lamented that the continuation of such a trend would result in losing international tourist markets more than before. “Or at least they should make it clear so that we can respond appropriately to foreign companies and tourists to not to miss the international tourist markets more than before.”

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, according to official data provided by the ministry of tourism.

Iran 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 26 being inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

AFM

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