COVID causes $26.8m damage to Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari tourism

January 17, 2022 - 18:54

TEHRAN – The tourism industry of the southwestern Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province has taken some 7.5 trillion rials ($26.8 million) hit from the coronavirus outbreak so far, the deputy provincial tourism chief has announced. 

Damage of this magnitude has been inflicted on hotels, apartment hotels, guesthouses, eco-lodges, travel agencies, tour guides, hospitality, and tourism complexes, and tourism institutes in the province, Farjam Samiei said on Monday. 

Furthermore, a total of 521 travel insiders have lost their jobs as well, the official added. 

Last July, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts announced Iran’s tourism industry had suffered a loss of some 320 trillion rials ($1.1 billion) 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 ($993 million) hit from the virus, while over 21,000 workers in these centers lost their jobs. Moreover, tourism agencies suffered over 10 trillion rials ($35.4 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.

ABU/AFM 

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