Virus causes $119 million damage to tourism earnings of Iranian province

September 7, 2021 - 19:25

TEHRAN – Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari has lost more than five trillion rials (about $119 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) in earnings from tourism as many potential visitors have stayed away from the Iranian province since the novel coronavirus restrictions began in early 2019.

“The tourism industry of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari has taken 5,685 billion rials hit from the coronavirus since the disease started spreading (in the country),” the deputy provincial tourism chief said on Tuesday.

“This amount of damage has suffered hotels, apartment hotels, inns, eco-lodges, guesthouses, travel agencies and tour operators, tour guides, roadside restaurants, and recreational centers, as well as tourism educational institutions and centers across the province,” Farjam Samiei explained.

Moreover, 521 tourism workers have been unemployed during the COVID-19 era, the official said.

The provincial tourism directorate has made various efforts such as arranging low-interest loans to help compensate the losses, he said

“We hope Iran’s tourism industry backs to the normal track as the mass vaccination against the coronavirus makes progress.”

Late in July, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts announced Iran’s tourism industry had suffered a loss of some 320 trillion rials ($7.6 billion at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The pandemic has also ruined more than 44,000 jobs in the once budding travel sector of the country,” the ministry said in a press release.  

“As a result of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran and the subsequent unemployment and financial losses, accommodation centers suffered the most. These statistics cover the period between February 2020 and the spring of 2021.”

Over the mentioned time, Iran’s accommodation centers took some 280 trillion rials ($6.6 billion) hit from the virus, while over 21,000 workers in these centers lost their jobs. Moreover, tourism agencies suffered over 10 trillion rials ($238 million) of damage with 6,000 people getting unemployed people since the outbreak.

In terms of employment and financial losses, tourism complexes, eco-lodges, and tour guides are also among the most affected groups in the tourism industry, according to data provided by the ministry of tourism.

Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari lies in the southwestern part of the country. Its capital is Shahrekord. The province has various unique traditions and rituals relative to the 'tribal' lifestyles. Special forms of music, dance, and clothing are noteworthy. It has considerable potential to become a vibrant tourist attraction because of its changing natural landscape.

The province is also a hub for making wool felt products, majorly of which exported abroad. It is home to some 500 crafters, in over 250 workshops, making handmade felt products.

Currently, about 40 tons of felt are yearly being made in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari through traditional and modern manners, which could be increased to 50 tons, according to official data. Experts believe that Shahr-e Kord has the potential to be a world city for felt products.


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