‘Visa center’ inaugurated in Mashhad

February 27, 2022 - 21:44

TEHRAN – Iran’s second ‘visa center’ has recently been inaugurated in the holy city of Mashhad, which embraces the shrine of Imam Reza (AS).

“The first visa center outside the Iranian capital, and the second one in the country, has started operating in Mashhad,” ISNA quoted a local official as saying on Sunday.

Its duty is to monitor, peruse and facilitate visa application processes from EU member states (Schengen) and other countries of the world, the official explained.

“It will help eligible applicants from Mashhad or other neighboring cities to obtain visas for tourism, trade, education, etc., “

In the current coronavirus circumstances, the center would be very beneficial as local applicants do not need to personally visit embassies in Tehran, the report said.

Going to statistics, some 1.47m foreign nationals visited the Islamic Republic from the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year to January 1, a span most of which was subject to severe travel bans due to coronavirus. Citizens from Iraq and Afghanistan were the main source of tourism for Iran from October 23 to December 22, 2021. “226,000 people from Iraq, 103,000 from Afghanistan, 90,000 from Turkey, 22,000 from Azerbaijan, and 18,000 from Bahrain arrived in Iran during the mentioned period,” according to data released by Mehr news agency.

Moreover, neighboring countries have been the main source of tourism for the Islamic Republic. That is why the fair has invited travel insiders, tour operators, and exhibitors from neighboring states to reinforce the trend.

The average of international travels to and from the Islamic Republic fell by 80 percent during the past Iranian calendar year 1399 (ended on March 20, 2021) from a year earlier. “During this period, 4,343,163 passengers entered the country, which included 3,030,464 Iranian passengers and 512,699 international travelers,” according to Arezou Ghaniun, an official with the Islamic Republic of Iran's Customs Administration.

In the international scene, tourism experienced a 4% increase in 2021, 15 million more international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) compared to 2020 (415 million versus 400 million), according to data compiled by the World Tourism Organization. International arrivals, however, show 72% below the pre-pandemic year of 2019, according to preliminary estimates.

AFM

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