Fully-vaccinated people allowed to travel, Iranian president says

March 12, 2022 - 18:45

TEHRAN – On Saturday, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iranians who have received the second dose of COVID vaccine are allowed to travel across the country during the new year (Noruz) holidays.

It seems that the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control has eased its previous protocols announced last week, saying only people who have received the third dose of the vaccine or the ones holding a negative PCR test can go travels.

“Based on decisions made by the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control, people who have not received the third dose of the vaccine can also go travels, use social services or attend meetings if they present a negative PCR test,” the headquarters announced on March 7.  

Noruz journeys as well as (public) gatherings and celebrations will be allowed if coronavirus protocols declared by National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control are observed by people, Raisi said.

Furthermore, the president said the same rule will come to effect for people joining tour packages called “Rahiane Nour” (“The Path of Light”), which explores former combat zones in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

Noruz ceremonies and trips, if practiced under health protocols, could be beneficial for the revival of the tourism industry and handicrafts, which have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic in many provinces, he explained.

Iranians traditionally make hundreds of thousands of domestic trips during the New Year holidays, when most businesses and workplaces are closed, as are schools.

Last year, the number of domestic travels fell by 96 percent during the two-week New Year (Noruz) holidays (March 20-April 2) compared to two years earlier due to struct virus-related restrictions, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts. “According to the latest data Iranians made some 2.5 million overnight stays across the country during the Noruz holidays, while the number added up to over 74 million in the same period in 1398 (March 21-April 2, 2019), which shows a drastic fall,” former deputy tourism minister Vali Teymouri said.

“It seems many people have postponed, rescheduled, or even delayed their travel plans to help limit the spread of the coronavirus around the country,” the official added.

Last year the tourism ministry announced that the tourism of the country was growing before the corona outbreak, its revenues reached $11.7 billion in 2019, which accounted for 2.8% of GDP, nearing the average share of tourism in the world GDP, which was 3.2 percent

Available data suggest the country’s tourism industry has suffered $233m losses due to COVID restrictions over the past two years. “Iranian tourism facilities have incurred a loss of 69 trillion rials ($233 million) due to the outbreak of the coronavirus over the past two years,” an official with the tourism ministry said early in January.

The Islamic Republic expects to reap a bonanza from its numerous tourist spots such as bazaars, museums, mosques, bridges, bathhouses, madrasas, mausoleums, churches, towers, and mansions, of which 26 are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

AFM

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