Persian new year: domestic travel to Yazd up 34 percent

April 2, 2022 - 20:30

TEHRAN – Domestic travel to Yazd ramped up 34 percent during the recent new year (Noruz) as the Iranian government allowed fully-vaccinated people to travel during the two-week holidays.

Some 860,000 people visited Yazd province from March 17 to 31 which shows a 34 percent upsurge compared to the same period last year, the provincial tourism chief said on Saturday.

“27,525 of the travelers reached Yazd via rail or air routes, which shows a 31 percent increase year on year,” the official added.

“Furthermore, the number of visits to the historical sites and museums increased 56 percent.”

On March 12, President Ebrahim Raisi said Iranians who have received the second dose of COVID vaccine were allowed to travel across the country during the new year holidays.

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.

“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 holidays compared to two years earlier due to struct virus-related restrictions, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts. Before the corona outbreak, tourism revenues of the Islamic Republic 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.

With its winding lanes, a forest of badgirs (wind catchers), mud-brick houses, atmospheric alleyways, and centuries of history, Yazd is a delightful place to stay, being referred to as a ‘don't miss’ destination by almost all travel associates in the region. The oasis city is wedged between the northern Dasht-e Kavir and the southern Dasht-e Lut on a flat plain ringed by mountains.

Yazd has an interesting mix of people as well, some 10 percent of whom follow the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism. Yazd Jameh Mosque, Dowlatabad Garden, the Yazd Atash Behram, also known as Atashkadeh-e Yazd, Towers of Silence, and adjacent desert landscape are among its tourist sites.


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