Iran untapped destination for Pakistani travelers: expert

January 30, 2022 - 21:9

TEHRAN – Iran has immense potential to become a popular destination for Pakistani nationals, a Pakistani travel expert said on Sunday.

“By recognizing Iran’s medical capabilities, it will lay the groundwork for the presence of Pakistani patients in Iran in addition to the area of religious tourism,” said Seyyed Yousef Jamil Razavi, who is attending the 15th Tehran International Tourism Exhibition.

As three of the most populous cities in Pakistan, Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad have a good capacity for sending tourists to Iran, and flights from Tehran and Mashhad may be used for this purpose, he added.

Last week, Mehr reported that some 1.47m foreign nationals visited Iran from the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2021) to January 1, a span most of which was subject to severe travel bans due to coronavirus.

Of the number, 635, 862 foreign nationals arrived in Iran as of mid-October when the Islamic Republic started issuance of tourist visas after a 20-month hiatus, the report added.

Citizens from Iraq and Afghanistan were the main source of tourism for Iran from October 23 to December 22, 2021.

Last September, Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Minister Ezzatollah Zarghami announced that by the order of President Ebrahim Raisi the issuance of tourist visas and the flow of foreign tourists from land and air borders will be resumed from the month of Aban (Oct. 23 – Nov. 21) following 19 months of suspension.

Before the resumption, groups of Iranian tourism insiders urged the three ministries of interior, tourism, and foreign affairs to facilitate travel to Iran for foreign tourists from the mentioned countries who have obtained tourist visas and are en route to Iran or about to visit it. Also, some believed that preventing the spread of new variants of the virus and maintaining public health are preferable to the benefits of tourism.

Months of steep recession have taken its toll. Many travel insiders, hoteliers, and tour operators have faced big dilemmas such as bankruptcy, unemployment, debts, and the prospects of not being competitive on the international level. The pandemic has taken a huge toll on Iran’s civil aviation sector. For instance, airlines reportedly lost hundreds of millions of dollars because of flight cancellations during the busy New Year travel season last March.

ABU/AFM

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