Coronavirus causes $167m damage to Golestan’s tourism

October 1, 2021 - 20:30

TEHRAN – The tourism industry of the northern province of Golestan has taken some seven trillion rials (about $167 million at the official exchange rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) hit from the coronavirus outbreak over the past two years.

The pandemic halted domestic and foreign travels to the province during Noruz (the Iranian new year holiday) and the summer, the deputy provincial tourism chief has said.

As a result, various tourism units, such as travel agencies, eco-lodges, traditional restaurants, guesthouses, and agritourism farms in the province had to close or stagnate, Yasser Qandehari announced on Friday.

Over 450 accommodation centers including hotels, apartment hotels, guest houses, eco-lodge units, and tourist complexes are currently operating in the province, supporting over 3,500 jobs, the official added. 

Earlier in May, provincial tourism chief Ahmad Tajari announced that to compensate for pandemic damages the Iranian government paid some 147 billion rials ($3.5 million) in loans to the tourism businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic as well as floods in the province.

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, he added.

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

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.

ABU/AFM

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