Tehran, Damascus discuss ways to reinforce pilgrimage tourism

November 10, 2021 - 19:30

TEHRAN – Iran and Syria officials have recently discussed ways to deepen tourism relations, especially through pilgrimage journeys. 

The head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Alireza Rashidian met Syrian Tourism Minister Mohammed Rami Martini in Damascus on Tuesday, ISNA reported. 

Around two weeks ago, as a result of the proliferation of coronavirus vaccinations and the decline in the number of patients with COVID-19 in Iran, arrangements were made for Iranian pilgrims to travel to Iraq, Rashidian said.

Hopefully, bilateral talks will result in the resumption of sending Iranian pilgrims to Syria to visit the holy shrine of Zeynab bint Ali, the daughter of the first Shia Imam, Ali ibn Abi Talib and the holy shrine of Imam Hussein’s daughter, Ruqayya bint Hussein, he added. 

Following the closure of these trips for several years, their re-launch will likely be fraught with challenges, however, the groundwork and cooperation between the two countries can help minimize these challenges, allowing pilgrimage trips to Syria once again to take place, he noted. 

For his part, Martini said that Iranian pilgrims in Syria will be of great assistance in promoting cultural and economic ties between the two nations.

Syria is ready to receive Iranian pilgrims with all its might, he stated.

As a result of the Syrian War, which began in 2011, tourism in Syria has greatly declined, even though Syria has some of the oldest cities in West Asia, such as Damascus and Aleppo (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Before the Syrian Civil War, 8.5 million tourists visited Syria in 2010, generating revenue of $8.4 billion and contributing 14% to the national economy. Tourist numbers had decreased by more than 98% by 2015.


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